Docs Perform C-Section on Woman, Then Realize She Isn't Pregnant

Say What!? 22

A 37-year-old woman from Brazil made headlines this week when doctors performed an emergency C-section on her only to realize she was not pregnant. The woman believed she was 41 weeks pregnant and was admitted to a hospital after complaining about abdominal pain. Not sure if her doctors gave her a sonogram or why they wouldn't after failing to detect a heartbeat, but they reportedly decided to perform a Cesarean because she looked pregnant and was experiencing some pregnancy symptoms, like nausea.

This story sounds fishy, but the woman's actual condition isn't as odd as you may think. Docs say she had a "phantom" pregnancy, which is when women are so thoroughly convinced they are pregnant that they actually experience bodily changes that resemble those felt during pregnancy. 

More from The Stir: Mom Forced to Undergo Sedated C-Section & Then Her Baby Is Taken Away

Before I became pregnant with my second child, my husband and I tried to conceive for about eight months. During this time, I also began noticing that my menstrual cycle had changed a bit, which is a totally normal thing that often happens to women in their 30s. I began dealing with hellish PMS symptoms, the likes of which I hadn't experienced since I was 14. 

There was one month when I knew -- I just KNEW -- I was pregnant. I felt an immediate change in my body. I waited to take a pregnancy test because it was still too early -- but all of the right symptoms began popping up on cue. My period was late. My breasts became tender. I experienced nausea and would cry uncontrollably at the drop of a hat. These signs persisted for two weeks until I broke down and took a pregnancy test.

It was negative. But I was still utterly convinced that I was pregnant because my body didn't ordinarily do the crazy things it was doing without a good reason. My husband gently tried to talk some reason into me and reminded me that, by now, the test would likely be positive.

But he wasn't in my body. He couldn't possibly understand the way a pregnancy feels.

I tortured myself for one more week. I Googled "false negative pregnancy tests" and only paid attention to the stories that had happy endings. And then my period came -- three weeks late. I was a hysterical mess. I had wanted to believe my body wasn't lying to me, but I had to admit to myself that I'd created those physical responses.

We forget how easy it is to create false realities for ourselves, especially when we are desperate to become pregnant. The brain is so powerful that it can even disrupt hormonal balances in women who experience false pregnancies, causing an increase in the pregnancy hormone and even the stimulation of milk producing cells. 

My advice to any woman who suspects she is pregnant but doesn't have proof is not to wait to visit a doctor. The longer I let my mind wander, the more confused I became. And it goes without saying: stay off of Google.

Were you ever convinced you were pregnant when you weren't?


Image via Jacob Botter/Flickr

1st trimester, c-sections, complications, emotions, is it normal, morning sickness, motherhood, pregnancy confessions, pregnancy health, pregnancy symptoms, pregnancy signs, trying to conceive, in the news


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

nonmember avatar ago

You might have been pregnant and had an early miscarriage. If you took a preg test early, it may have not picked up enough hcg.

nonmember avatar Anonymous

Phantom pregnancies ARE true!! I'm not at all proud of this, but when I was younger (12) I had sex with an immediate family member and became pregnant. I spent 6months stressing on how I was going to tell my mother. I hadn't had a period for half a year and my stomach was growing ... I even felt a baby move sometimes at night or when running, etc. Well .. one day I finally came to terms with everything and decided I would tell our mother whenever I got off the bus. Right before school let out I remember feeling wet inside my underwear ... went to the restroom and sure enough there was my period! I had syked myself out for 6 months and wasn't even pregnant!! The belly weight fell off shortly after. I was no longer stressing, emotional, or starving. It is weird what out brains can trick our bodies into doing!!

Freela Freela

When I was ttc, I had a month where I KNEW I was pregnant... tons of symptoms, late period, the works.  I was so sure!  Because I was on clomid, I was having regular blood draws that confirmed, by quantitative blood hCG, that I was not, and had not been pregnant.  I was quite disappointed!  It also happens that once twice when I was pregnant I was convinced that I was not, because I had such bad period-type cramps that I felt like it was going to start any second.  So apparently my success rate at detecting pregnancy without a doctor's assistance is pretty low!

nonmember avatar annamaria

I thought that this was going to be a story about a women in Brazil. What happened to her?

diane... diane2413

sometimes it is not a phantom pregnancy or a pregnancy but something else all together. I was so sure I was pregnant and had missed a few periods. I felt like I had all the signs and then found out I had a thyroid issue. I made the doctor repeat the blood tests because I was so sure. I also found out thyroid issues are to blame when many women think they are pregnant. Of course by the time I found out that I was not pregnant my fiance and I were already excited planning for a baby that was not coming. 

BatMom. BatMom.

I've had every symptom in the book (aside from looking pregnant), several times, and I wasn't pregnant. Thank goodness, too, cause I do NOT want more kids.

I find it so strange that they didn't find out for sure if this woman was pregnant, simply by following standard procedures. How absurd.

jaber121 jaber121

I  also had problems with my cycles and pregnancy  scares.  I had 5 miscarriages for many different reasons.  It was a very bad and hard time me,

epuffer epuffer

i knew a week after becoming pregnant. i took a test and it was positive and went to the doc to confirm they wouldnt even test me! they said it was too early to test and set an appontment two months later!! i ended up going to another doc and they tested me and i was right but it just wasnt my time and around the time for the appointment at the other doc two months later i miscarried. 

bree144 bree144

Did anyone not pay attention to Anonymous comment???

You thought you got pregnant by an immediate family member? Didn't know how to tell "our" mom??

I'd be more interested in that story

sunny... sunnybunny5us

For what reason  did they determine she needed one? Failure to progress in labor? 


1-10 of 22 comments 123 Last