The following is a summary of “A case report involving the experience of pervasive pregnancy denial: detailed observation of the first 12 postpartum weeks” published in the December 2022 issue of Psychiatry by Chechko et al.

Rarely seen, persistent pregnancy denial is linked to emotional suffering and natural childbirth. A 38-year-old mother (NN) with 2 older children (aged 8 and 11), in this case, did not find out she was pregnant until the day she gave birth. About 12 weeks of postpartum mood, stress, and mother-child bonding are examined in the case study. NN and the other 558 non-depressed women in the RIPOD (risk of postpartum depression) trial were recruited from a pool of participants with a mean age of 32.41 years. Participants were all enlisted between a week and 6 days after giving birth. Mood, mother-child bonding, and perceived stress were all remotely assessed at 3, 6, 9, and 12 weeks postpartum. 

In addition to a survey of postpartum depression. Additionally, participants assessed their perceived stress levels every other day on a scale from 1 (very low) to 10 (extremely high). Throughout the postpartum observation period, NN showed above-average mother-infant bonding, similar to only 1.6% of the sample, and no symptoms on the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale, like only 0.7% of the sample. Stress levels in her daily life were unaffected, a much smaller percentage (3.32%) than the rest of the population. Only 4.2% of the sample reported stress levels below 1 on the day of delivery, which NN reported. Since the baby had fallen to the floor during delivery, and NN said it was frightening. NN didn’t seem to be affected by having her pregnancy denied at any point, not even on the day she gave birth. 

The other non-depressed subjects reported more extreme variations in stress levels than NN did during the observation period. In addition, NN did not mention any potential dangers that could have led to her being denied a pregnancy. Therefore, she did not fit into either the category of “pregnancy doubters” (as described in the study) or “postpartum women” (as described in the literature). Researchers, therefore, hypothesize that the degree to which pregnancy denial can be considered a normal variation, unconnected to a psychological or physiological disorder, varies heavily on individual features.

Source: bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-022-04377-1