In April, 21-year-old Divya*, a resident of Chandrapatti village in Krishnagiri district, received the news that she was pregnant. She and her husband Vetri* were overjoyed and Divya began taking all the necessary precautions and supplements. A few months down the road, the couple was shocked to discover during a routine scan that she was never pregnant to begin with, even though her test results were positive.
It all began in April when Divya went to a public health centre in Dharmapuri after missing her period. The doctors had her do a urine pregnancy test (UPT) which showed a positive result. Routine investigations were also done, but she did not undergo any scans at the time. Following this she began taking the medications and supplements generally advised for pregnant women. Though an ultrasound is usually conducted around seven to eight weeks, she did not appear for this procedure.
September marked the start of the fifth month (around what would have been the 26th week of pregnancy and she had still not gotten her period). It was at this time that she had to undergo a routine anomaly scan, which helps to detect any abnormality in the fetus’ development. The scan, however revealed that she was not pregnant.
“The woman initially went to the doctor after not having had her period for 40 days. The protocol in most hospitals is that a woman has to undergo a urine pregnancy test if this is her primary complaint. Adhering to that, the PHC had her take a UPT, which turned out to be positive. It wasn’t until the anomaly scan was done at around 26 weeks of the ‘pregnancy’ that it was discovered that she wasn’t pregnant and actually had an ovarian cyst,” explains Dr Priya, Krishnagiri Deputy Director of Health Services (DDHS).
There are several conditions which can resemble pregnancy, including certain types of ovarian cysts.
“A medical team is investigating into the matter, however at present, it seems that the woman had a condition which mimicked pregnancy,” states Dr Kolandaswamy, Director of Public Health (DDPH).
Hydatidiform moles, ovarian cysts, and certain fibroid cysts can all release Human chorionic gonadotropin, or Hcg, the hormone which is present in high concentrations when a woman is pregnant. This is what the UPT is designed to detect as there is a higher rate of Hcg in the urine is present during pregnancy. However, the aforementioned conditions can also result in the presence of Hcg in the urine.