A Brazilian woman claims hospital staff stole her baby and told her she had a phantom pregnancy.

The Daily Mail in London reports that Layane Santos,19, said she received pre-natal treatment during her entire pregnancy but after a Caesarian-section doctors told her the baby never existed.

Ms Santos said nurses recorded the growth of her baby and foetal heart rates during the pre-natal visits. Ultra-sounds during her final week of pregnancy showed a 3100g baby girl who measured 42cm.

According to the Daily Mail, Ms Santos was in her 38th week of pregnancy when she was rushed to a maternity hospital in Sao Paulo, south east Brazil, with abdominal pain and blood loss.

The kitchen assistant and her husband Lourival Alves had already named their daughter Sofia, moved to a bigger house and had spent $3000 on clothes and furniture for their first child, according to Brazil's Tribunal Hoje newspaper.

Hospital records report that the mother-to-be arrived on December 26 'with vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain, requiring urgent attention.

"The obstetrician diagnosed premature separation of the placenta and the patient was immediately transferred to the operating room," records show.

Ms Santos told the newspaper she told medics that her husband wanted to be at her baby's birth, but he was never called.

Doctors told Ms Santos there was no baby and her pregnancy had been purely psychological.

Ms Santos said she was anaesthetised and woke up later in her hospital room without explanation.

"My husband told me what the doctors had said, and I became hysterical with despair and cried," she said. "I asked about the doctor, I wanted to speak with him because I had entered the hospital with a baby inside me but I was leaving without one.

"I think they stole the baby, or the baby died while she was being delivered and they didn't want to tell us what happened. There's no way she could have just vanished from one moment to the next."

A spokesman for Santa Casa de Maua hospital said an examination before delivery had shown Ms Santos was not carrying a baby.

The couple's lawyer, Leila Salomao, said they had asked a judge to seize the hospital's records.

According to Sylvia Cavalcanti, from the Brazilian Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, a psychological pregnancy can occur when a women "has an overwhelming desire to have a child".

The West Australian

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