Sometimes wishful thinking can make the normal changes your body goes through each month seem new and unusual, especially if you’re actively trying to get pregnant. It’s natural to get your hopes up and think your body is doing something different. But home pregnancy tests are usually very good, and if multiple tests come up negative, believe them.
There is an unusual condition called pseudocyesis; women who have it experience real symptoms of pregnancy but aren’t actually pregnant. The symptoms can be very dramatic — abdominal enlargement, breast changes, fetal movement, and even labor pains. No one knows why this happens. Pseudocyesis seems to be more common in women who are married, who have been pregnant before, or who are in their second marriage. Women diagnosed with the condition seem to improve with counseling and support from family and friends.
Chances are you don’t have pseudocyesis; you’re probably just going through normal premenstrual changes. Monthly symptoms can vary significantly from person to person, both with pregnancy and with regular periods. Unfortunately, some women experience debilitating cramping, bloating, pelvic pain, or nausea and vomiting with their periods, to the extent that they have to miss work or school several days each month — but they’re not pregnant. Many researchers believe that it’s the fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone (the two main hormones produced during the menstrual cycle) in the bloodstream that create these side effects.