Presumptive, Probable and Positive Signs of Pregnancy

October 11, 2016 by Mommy Nurse
presumptive probable positive signs of pregnancy

Wondering if you could be pregnant? Do you even know the presumptive, probable and positive signs of pregnancy?  After a couple of weeks since you did lovemaking and now can’t wait for the confirmation, you’re confuse and still holding with the feeling of being pregnant. Can you distinguish those signs and symptoms? Are you familiar with their differences? Let’s find out each distinction.

Pregnancy is an ample experience in a woman’s life. It can be exciting yet stressful time. For all women, it’s important to know and understand changes in their bodies for them to be aware if it’s the early pregnancy symptoms, so that if the chance ever arises that you could be pregnant, you’ll know what to look for and what to rely on.

You’ll find number of signs and symptoms, some are well-known, others are unfamiliar and can be similar to pre-menstrual signs or having a monthly period but some are not as reliable as others.

Classifications of Pregnancy Signs – Presumptive, Probable and Positive

  • PRESUMPTIVE SIGNS – these are changes felt by woman, these signs and symptoms are not proof of pregnancy but they will make you suspect of pregnancy because it may resemble pregnancy signs and symptoms, but may in fact be caused by any number of other conditions.
    • Morning sickness (Nausea and vomiting)
      • Nausea and vomiting occurs commonly in early morning as early as the first month of pregnancy or may persist continually until delivery. The severity of symptom can vary. This is associated with increased HCG levels. But it is unreliable sign of pregnancy, since it may result from other conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, infection, emotional stress and indigestion. Thus, it’s included in presumptive sign.
    • Amenorrhea (absence of woman’s menstrual period)
      • Amenorrhea is one of the earliest clues of pregnancy but considered to be a presumptive sign. It suggests pregnancy has occurred, but not uncommon for a woman to miss her period. It maybe cause by stress (tension, fear or strong desire for a pregnancy), excessive exercises, chronic illnesses (endocrine disorders, central nervous system abnormalities), hormonal imbalance (thyroid malfunction), medications (allergy medications, blood pressure drugs) and contraceptives.
    • Change in breast
      • In early pregnancy changes start with a light, temporary enlargement of the breasts and continues to increased firmness or tenderness and more visible veins due to increased blood supply but it could also be a result of hormonal factors, injury and breast disease.
    • Fatigue (extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion)
      • This is a common complaint, many women feel constantly tired in early pregnancy. Hormonal changes are likely the cause of fatigue but other reason to feel exhausted are anemia, infection, emotional stress and malignant disease.
    • Lassitude (lethargy or lack of energy)
      • Lassitude is interchangeable with fatigue. However, lassitude is the feeling where you lack energy of doing something. Most of the time a pregnant woman may experience. Lassitude is a presumptive sign because it’s not uncommon for us, even the energetic or productive men may experienced lethargy once in their lifetime.
    • Urinary frequency (frequent urination)
      • You may have noticed more  need to pee even before you realized you were pregnant. Hormonal changes cause blood to flow more quickly through your kidneys, filling your bladder more often. If you feel pain or burning when urinating and feel the urge to pee even you’re only able to produce a few drops, these could be signs of urinary tract infection (UTI). It is not a definite sign since other factors can be possible such as  tension, diabetes, tumor, excess drinking and also some medications (diuretics).
    • Quickening (woman feel or recognize fetal movements in the uterus)
      • A primigravida (woman pregnant for the first time) usually cannot feel quickening until after 18 weeks, but multigravida (pregnant more than one time) can feel fetal movement as early as 16 weeks. It feels like gas bubbles, flutters or butterflies in stomach. This “feeling of life” is not considered positive indication of pregnancy because it can’t be confirmed objectively by anyone aside from the woman herself. The movement of gas within the intestine can also mimic this feeling.
  • PROBABLE SIGNS – these are signs observed by the examiner (Obstetrician or Midwife). They are more reliable indicators of pregnancy than the presumptive signs but are not definitive.
    • Uterine changes – these signs in uterus are probable and cannot be consider as true signs of pregnancy.
      • Uterine enlargement – at twelve weeks gestation it felt just above symphysis pubis.
      • Hegar’s sign – this is softening of the lower uterine segment just above the cervix. Physician examines your uterus by compressing it between examining fingers, the wall feels tissue paper thin.
      • Ballottment – this is demonstrated during bimanual exam. It is the sinking and rebound of fetus.
    • Cervical changes
      • Goodell’s sign – softening of the cervix. Cervix is normally firm like the cartilage at the end of the nose.
      • Braxton-Hicks Contractions – this involves painless contractions occurring throughout pregnancy. It usually be stopped by walking.
    • Positive Pregnancy test
      • Maybe your shock, but positive pregnancy test may indicate either  a false positive or false negative, making it just a probable sign because by  doing it too early or too late can affect its result. Besides there are many things to consider in using and taking a home pregnancy test. First, timing is very important. The advisable time to take the test is in the morning to have a better result. This is because urine is more concentrated and the hormones level is much measurable. Moreover, the kit itself is a factor too, you must purchase home pregnancy test kit in a known and trusted drug store. It’s not all about the price, what matters is whether or not a test is damaged, expired or used inaccurately. Even if the test is positive, it could be the result of ectopic pregnancy and hydatidiform mole (abnormal growth of a mass of tissue inside your womb).
    • Chadwicks’ sign – bluish discoloration of vaginal wall.
    • Outlining of fetal body
      • Fetal outline can be palpated by the examiner through the abdomen and identify fetal parts. It is not always accurate.

  • POSITIVE SIGNS – these are definitive and unmistakable signs of pregnancy. Objective signs that strongly indicate pregnancy. There are only three positive signs of pregnancy that are documented by the obstetrician or health care professional.
    • Fetal heart rate (heartbeat)
      • With the use of Doppler it can be heard by 10 weeks, fetoscope by 16 weeks and by auscultation (stethoscope) by 18-20 weeks. The normal fetal heart rate usually ranges from 120-160 beats per minute (bpm). Hearing the first “lub dub” of your baby’s heart will tickle your excitement. No doubt, there is a life inside you. It’s undeniably a positive sign.
    • Fetal movement
      • This fetal movement is felt by health care provider usually after 20 weeks where pregnant woman feel their unborn baby’s kicks, flutter, swish or roll and sometimes their hiccup. At first, the kicks you observe will be few and far at intervals, but later in your second trimester the flutters will be much stronger and regular that may bother your sleep. It’s really amazing to feel the movements your baby is doing inside you. A proof that there is a life developing in you and a confirmation of positive sign of pregnancy.
    • Fetal outline on Ultrasound
      • Ultrasound shows image of the fetal outline the head, body and spine. It is a noninvasive diagnostic test that uses sound waves. Ultrasound confirms positive pregnancy and allows health care practitioner to check the progress of your pregnancy and your baby’s health. Likewise,  ultrasound is important in detecting abnormalities in pregnancy such as hydrocephalus, distention of fetal  abdomen, polyhydramnios, oligohydramnios and masses in pregnancy.

After reading the above classifications and their differences, I hope you can determine if the signs and symptoms you’re referring  are intuition or it’s the real deal. Nevertheless, the presumptive signs are important to know because of the importance of prenatal care. If you suspect that you might be pregnant, start taking extra-good care of yourself. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, eat nutritious foods(fruits and vegetable) and set an appointment with a certified caregiver or health care professional to find out what else you need to have a healthy baby. Also, keep in mind that the mentioned signs above are general symptoms, every women differs from each other. Being equipped with information about the presumptive, probable and positive signs of pregnancy is very vital in stages you’re going through for the next nine months.


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