Layane Santos, 19, 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.
She had received pre-natal treatment during her entire pregnancy, with nurses recording the growing size of her baby and even measuring the foetal heart beats.
Days before the op, kitchen assistant Layane had an ultra-sound scan which showed she was carrying a baby girl who weighed 7lbs and measured 42cm.
She and her husband Lourival Alves, 28, had already named their daughter Sofia, and moved to a bigger house to prepare for her arrival.
They also spent over £2,000 in baby clothes and furniture according to Brazil’s Tribunal Hoje newspaper.
On the day before the expected birth, Layane attended Santa Casa de Maua hospital for checks, but suffered pain and bleeding when she was there.
Hospital records show the date of her visit and that doctors transferred her to the operating theatre.
Layane claims she told medics that her husband wanted to be present at the baby’s birth, but he was never called.
But doctors later claimed they found no child in her womb and believed the 'pregnancy’ had been purely psychological.
Mr Alves said he was called in to the operating room following the C-section. He said: “The doctor showed me the empty womb and said that there wasn’t any baby. That the pregnancy had been psychological.”
Layane said she blanked out moments after receiving the anaesthetic and only woke up later in her hospital room, but never received an explanation from a doctor.
She said: “My husband told me what the doctors had said, and I became hysterical with despair and cried.
“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 can’t believe that a child who weighed 7lbs could just disappear in blood.
"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.”
The Santa Casa de Maua hospital claimed exams they performed before the delivery proved Layane was not carrying a baby, but said they “reserved the right to only present these exams at the opportune moment.”
The couple’s lawyer, Leila Salomao, confirmed they have asked a judge to seize the hospital’s records relating to her visit.
The doctor responsible for Layane's pre-natal treatment, Uesley Lima, has also reportedly promised to be a witness for the couple if they bring a criminal case against the hospital.
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”.
She added: “This can cause the cessation of menstruation due to hormonal changes. She will feel nausea, vomiting, in fact everything she has read about a normal pregnancy.”