Denial of pregnancy

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Denial of pregnancy (also called pregnancy denial) is a form of denial exhibited by women to either the fact or the implications of their own pregnancy. One study found that women who denied their pregnancy represented 0.26% of all deliveries.[1] A later study cited that at 20 weeks gestation approximately 1 in 475 pregnant women denied their pregnancy, and said the proportion of cases persisting even until delivery is about 1 in 2500 refusing to acknowledge that they are pregnant.[2]

Psychotic denial[edit]

This is a form of denial that is so extreme as to fall under the category of delusion. While physical symptoms of pregnancy do usually occur, they are sometimes misinterpreted by the woman. Some women interpret the sensation of something growing inside them as cancer, or a blood clot. Some women might believe fetal movements are their organs coming loose inside their body.[3] During the psychotic denial pregnancy, women tend to hide their pregnancy from everyone and put their fetus at a high risk.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Friedman, Susan Hatters; Heneghan, Amy; Rosenthal, Miriam (2007). "Characteristics of Women Who Deny or Conceal Pregnancy". Psychosomatics. 48 (2): 117–22. doi:10.1176/appi.psy.48.2.117. PMID 17329604.
  2. ^ Jenkins A, Millar S, Robins J (July 2011). "Denial of pregnancy: a literature review and discussion of ethical and legal issues". Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. 104 (7): 286–91. doi:10.1258/jrsm.2011.100376. PMC 3128877. PMID 21725094.
  3. ^ Miller, Laura J. (2008). "Denial of Pregnancy". In Spinelli, Margaret G. (ed.). Infanticide: Psychosocial and Legal Perspectives on Mothers Who Kill. American Psychiatric. pp. 81–104. ISBN 978-1-58562-754-7.
  4. ^ Miller, Laura J. (1990). "Psychotic Denial of Pregnancy: Phenomenology and Clinical Management". Psychiatric Services. 41 (11): 1233–7. doi:10.1176/ps.41.11.1233. PMID 2249803.

Further reading[edit]

  • Wessel, Jens; Gauruder-Burmester, Annett; Gerlinger, Christoph (2007). "Denial of pregnancy – characteristics of women at risk". Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica. 86 (5): 542–6. doi:10.1080/00016340601159199. PMID 17464581.
  • Beier, Klaus M.; Wille, Reinhard; Wessel, Jens (2006). "Denial of pregnancy as a reproductive dysfunction: A proposal for international classification systems". Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 61 (5): 723–30. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2005.11.002. PMID 17084153.
  • Kaplan, Robert; Grotowski, Therese (1996). "Denied pregnancy". Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 30 (6): 861–3. doi:10.3109/00048679609065056. PMID 9034478.
  • Spielvogel, Anna M.; Hohener, Heidi C. (1995). "Denial of Pregnancy: A Review and Case Reports". Birth. 22 (4): 220–6. doi:10.1111/j.1523-536X.1995.tb00262.x. PMID 8573237.
  • Brezinka, C.; Huter, O.; Biebl, W.; Kinzl, J. (1994). "Denial of pregnancy: obstetrical aspects". Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology. 15 (1): 1–8. doi:10.3109/01674829409025623. PMID 8038884.