Suppressed Pregnancies: A Surprising Phenomenon
By Anna Wengel | Aug 21, 2023 at 6:21 am
It may be difficult for many to believe, but suppressed pregnancies are more common than you might think. The phenomenon of suppressed pregnancies, also known as Suppressed gravity, occurs when a woman is unaware of her pregnancy until the 20th week. STYLEBOOK recently interviewed PD Dr. Jens Wessel, a gynecologist and author of a study on repressed pregnancies, to shed light on this peculiar phenomenon.
According to Dr. Wessel’s study, approximately 1 out of 300 to 600 pregnancies go unnoticed until after the 20th week. Shockingly, 1 out of 2,455 women do not even realize their pregnancy until the moment of birth. These figures suggest that around 1,600 births per year in Germany go undiagnosed until the 20th week, and there are approximately 300 cases of viable children being born without any prior awareness of the pregnancy. Dr. Wessel compares the latter statistic to being three times more common than triplets.
What leads to a repressed pregnancy? In his study, Dr. Wessel found that there is no single cause for denial of pregnancy. The women interviewed provided various reasons, such as conflicts in their relationships, high levels of stress at work or in their personal lives, sick children, or the death of relatives.
Dr. Wessel emphasizes that pregnancy is a complex physical and mental process, involving hormonal, organic, and psychological changes. Each pregnancy presents as a unique and often ambivalent life situation. Crisis and regression are not uncommon during pregnancy, prompting some women to repress or deny their situation. Repression acts as a defense mechanism against fear and anxiety, allowing the pregnant woman to avoid facing her new reality until a medical diagnosis or the birth forces her to confront it.
Repression of pregnancy cannot be attributed to a single structural cause. Rather, individual psychodynamics and internal conflicts play a significant role in the phenomenon.
How is it possible for pregnancy symptoms to go unnoticed? The body usually presents symptoms such as amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), nausea, weight gain, and an expanding abdomen. Emotional changes may also be present. Dr. Wessel suggests that women often rationalize or reinterpret these symptoms. For example, they may attribute weight gain to increased eating, failed diets, or known fluctuations in weight. Stomach pain may be attributed to digestive issues or abdominal problems. Some women may even experience menstrual-like bleeding, although the reason for this is not yet understood.
Dr. Wessel emphasizes that there is no specific type of person who experiences a repressed pregnancy. Women from all reproductive ages, educational and professional backgrounds, and social statuses can be affected. Previous assumptions that women with specific risk factors are more prone to suppressed pregnancies, such as social isolation or low intelligence, have proven to be inaccurate. First-time mothers are just as likely to experience a repressed pregnancy as those who have had multiple children. Dr. Wessel also dispels the stereotype that women who experience suppressed pregnancies are either psychotic or lying.
The consequences of a repressed pregnancy can be concerning for both the mother and child. Dr. Wessel’s study found a significantly increased neonatal risk when a pregnancy remains suppressed until birth. Premature birth and low birth weight were among the risks associated with repressed pregnancies.
In conclusion, suppressed pregnancies are a remarkable phenomenon that can have significant impacts on both the mother and child. To better understand this complex issue, further research and awareness are needed.]
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