The Belated Discovery of Pregnancy, Beyond Denial

Special topic: “Body and Trauma”
A Psychoanalytical Approach
By Luisa Araújo-Attali

At present, belated discoveries of pregnancy are subject to an attempt at a scientific theorisation and a standardisation under the generic concept of denial of pregnancy.
However, psychoanalytic theory and the clinic lead us to consider that the concept of belated discovery could be a symptom which may hide three mechanisms of defence: a de-negation, a denial or a foreclusore. These mechanisms are each linked to a different subjective position in relation to maternity.
Following a short presentation of the term “denial of pregnancy”, we will develop our research hypothesis and will test it out with clinical examples.
In conclusion, psychoanalytic theory allows for levels of distinction to be introduced into belated discoveries of pregnancy and for the expression “denial of pregnancy” to be relativized by avoiding making the notion of denial cover a heteroclite field.


  • belated discovery of pregnancy
  • psychoanalysis
  • denial
  • pregnancy
  • de-negation
  • foreclosure
  • mechanisms of defence
  • case studies
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