Pregnancy Symptoms: The Possible, Probable And Positive

There are many signs of pregnancy, ranging from those that make you wonder to those that even your caregiver considers proof positive. Here's a look at the signs and symptoms you may experience, and how likely each one is to be correct.

woman shocked by pregnancy test

Presumptive signs

These are the symptoms and sensations that, while possibly indicating pregnancy, also could be caused by any number of other conditions. These are also some of the earliest pregnancy symptoms.

  1. Absent menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
  2. Nausea and/or vomiting (morning sickness)
  3. Unexplained fatigue
  4. Frequent urination
  5. Breast tenderness and changes
  6. Excessive salivation (ptyalism)
  7. Skin changes
  8. A sensation of movement in abdomen (quickening)

Probable signs

Most of the time, these do indicate pregnancy -- but, in certain cases, they might be false or caused by another condition.

  1. Positive pregnancy test (presence of hCG detected, by blood or urine test)
  2. Softening of cervix at six to eight weeks (Goodell's sign)
  3. Bluish coloration of cervix, vagina and vulva at six to eight weeks (Chadwick's sign)
  4. Enlarged abdomen
  5. Braxton-Hicks contractions
  6. Passive movement of the fetus during an exam (ballottement)

Positive signs

These can't be mistaken for any other condition. They're considered absolute evidence that you are, in fact, pregnant. They rely on the senses -- sound, sight and touch -- as interpreted by your caregiver.

  1. Fetal heart sounds heard by Doptone or Doppler
  2. Fetus visible on ultrasound
  3. Fetal movements felt by caregiver
  4. Fetus visible on X-ray, MRI or other diagnostic imaging device (Note: Use of these devices is not recommended during pregnancy)

The value of these signs

Even the presumptive signs are important to know because of the value of prenatal care. As soon as you suspect even that you might be pregnant, start taking extra-good care of yourself: Avoid alcohol and cigarettes, eat well, and start taking prenatal vitamins. Make an appointment with a qualified caregiver to find out what else you need to do to grow a happy and healthy baby.

More about early pregnancy

When will you start to show
When should we tell people about the pregnancy?
Super-early signs that you may be pregnant

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