Australian researchers found that some women can experience phantom baby kicks for up to three decades after giving birth.
Now that’s torture! While many women actually enjoy the experience of baby movements and feeling those tiny little kicks, lots of women actually find it quite uncomfortable.
The “phantom kicks” can last for decades. One woman even reported feeling the sensation 28 years after giving birth.
The study, conducted by Monash University, found that 40 percent of the women surveyed, had felt phantom kicks after their pregnancy.
On average, women reported feeling the kicks for almost seven years post-partum, describing the physical sensations as “convincing”, “real kicks” or “flutters”
While 15 per cent of those surveyed described the kicks as “nostalgic,” and 14 per cent reported feeling happy and comforted by them, the sensation left 27 per cent of women confused or upset.
Why do we experience phantom kicks?
The authors of the study believe that in the months post-delivery, some sensations of phantom kicks are probably attributable to the body recovering from pregnancy.
“However, as women continue to experience these sensations for many years postpartum recovery cannot be the only contributor to the experience.”
Pregnant women are more in tune with their bodies
Experts wonder if it is because pregnant women are more in tune with their body after pregnancy and mistaking normal body sensations for baby kicks.
During pregnancy, women are getting to know their baby and its movements, with doctors telling us what to expect etc.
“The mother pays close attention to these sensations and bonds with her baby and obstetric care providers direct her to pay close attention to any reduction in the frequency of movements,” the authors note.
“Thus, the mother’s self-model of her body and the origin of sensations within it is updated.”
The heartbreak of phantom kicks
Sadly phantom kicks and movements are also common amongst women who have suffered a miscarriage. Understandably this can leave them feeling very confused and upset.
Earlier this year Chrissy Teigen shared her experience of phantom fetal movements after she suffered a miscarriage last September. Her fans responded with their own similar experiences saying she was certainly not alone.
Phantom pregnancy is also quite common.
Phantom pregnancy, is when a woman appears to show the signs and symptoms associated with pregnancy, when she is not actually pregnant. She will show many, if not all, of the pregnancy symptoms, including foetal movement, even without the actual foetus.
Causes and Symptoms of Phantom Pregnancy
The exact causes of phantom pregnancy are still unknown but one explanation says that it is caused by changes in the endocrine system of the body, which results to the secretion of hormones, causing pregnancy-like physical changes in the body.
However, it is also believed that the mind plays a factor in causing a phantom pregnancy. Doctors guessed that a woman, who is very eager to get pregnant, would send signals to her brain to trick her body into thinking she’s pregnant.
Did you suffer from phantom kicks? How long after pregnancy did you experience them?