What would you like to know?
Share this Story

Woman's phantom pregnancy leaves boyfriend shocked

Kim Grundy is a mom, writer, expert laundry folder and sandwich maker, not necessarily in that order. Raised in Oklahoma, she is now a West Coast gal and lives in California with her husband and two sons, along with one dog, two fish (oo...

Strange but true false pregnancy

Barbara Bienvenue told her boyfriend and her Canadian town that she was pregnant with quintuplets — she even had a baby bump and had started lactating. Imagine her boyfriend’s shock when they went to the hospital to deliver the babies and, as it turns out, doctors say she is not pregnant at all but has a rare disorder called phantom pregnancy or pseudocyesis.

Paul Servat told the Toronto Sun that his girlfriend, 37-year-old Barbara Bienvenue, told him she was pregnant with quintuplets — and he believed her. In fact, he said her belly grew like she was pregnant, she had morning sickness and she had even started lactating.

A local newspaper in Quebec, Le Canada Français, even ran a story on the couple’s happy news that they were expecting quadruplets (she later told him she was expecting five, instead of four), resulting in donations pouring in to the couple in the form of clothes, money and supplies. The couple had even picked out names (Alexander, Sebastian, Charles and Rosalie) and had set up the nursery.

They even had a C-section scheduled on Feb. 22 at a Montreal hospital.

One of Bienvenue's friends told ABC News that she “never doubted” her friend's pregnancy, saying she “walked like she was pregnant and seemed to have contractions.”

On the day the babies were to be delivered, the couple went to the hospital and doctors pulled Servat aside to deliver the shocking news — not only was she not currently pregnant, but she had never been pregnant. Bienvenue is at the hospital undergoing psychiatric treatment.

“I lost everything, it was my whole life,” he told the Toronto Sun.

What is a phantom pregnancy?

With a phantom pregnancy, your brain actually convinces your body you are pregnant, even causing stomach distention, milk secretion and even elevated pregnancy hormones. Dr. Kimberly Gecsi told ABC News she has only seen four or five of this type of rare condition in the last 10 years.

“Most people are convinced they're like 38 weeks along and they come in thinking they're in labor — heavy breathing, the whole nine yards, with all their things,” she said. "You're kind of relieved that it's not the alternative, that she was pregnant and the baby died. You feel bad. In her mind, it's a loss… it's sad."

More on pregnancy and parenting

Virginia legalizes discrimination against unwed moms
Breastfeeding "tramp" responds to bullying
Top 8 signs you are pregnant

Recommended for You
Comments
Hot
New in Parenting
Close

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!