December 1964

Pseudocyesis and Psychiatric Sequelae Of Sterilization

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Psychiatry and Obstetrics, Zürich Kantonspital, Zürich, Switzerland.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(6):571-580. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720300001001

Pregnancy fantasies of women who are not pregnant may be accompanied by somatic compliance resulting in the psychopathological condition called pseudocyesis. Hippocrates, in 300 BC, described 12 women "who imagine they are pregnant seeing that the menses are suppressed and the matrices swollen."1 John Mason Good introduced the term pseudocyesis (Greek pseudes—false, kyesis—pregnancy) in his System of Nosology,2 in 1823.

The clinical picture consists of: (1) menstrual cycle aberration with hypomenorrhea or amenorrhea, (2) gradual abdominal enlargement, (3) breast changes with increase in size, tenderness, secretion of colostrum or milk, pigmentation, and increased size of papillae, (4) a soft blue cervix, (5) a uterus enlarged and softened consistent with a six week to eight month pregnancy, (6) various gastrointestinal and other subjective somatic symptoms such as a sensation of fetal movement, (7) weight gain, and (8) suspicion or certainty of

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