Signs of Pregnancy

Pregnancy Confirmation

Women note changes in their bodies that make them aware that they are pregnant when pregnancy occurs. Every pregnant women wish to confirm a pregnancy as soon as possible. Often, confirmation is made by ultrasonography. This test makes it possible to view the fetal outline and observe fetal heartbeat in the early stage of pregnancy.

In traditional way, diagnosis is pregnancy is usually made based on the symptoms experienced by the woman and signs observed by the health care provider. These signs and symptoms are classified in three groups:

  1. Presumptive signs or indications (subjective signs observed and reported by the woman)
  2. Probable signs or indications (objective signs observed by examiner)
  3. Positive signs or indications (those than can be caused only by pregnancy).

The diagnosis of pregnancy cannot be solely made on the presumptive or probable signs because they may have other causes.

Presumptive signs with other possible causes

First trimester:

  1. Amenorrhea – absence of menstruation. Other possible causes of amenorrhea are: emotional stress, strenuous physical exercise, endocrine problems, chronic disease, early menopause, anovulation, low body weight.
  2. Nausea and vomiting (Morning sickness) – begins about 6 weeks after the last menstrual period and usually disappears by about 14 weeks. Other possible causes include: gastrointestinal virus, food poisoning, emotional stress.
  3. Breast changes – begins at about the sixth week of pregnancy. The expectatnt mother experiences breast tenderness, tingling, feelings of fullness, increase in size and pigmentation of the areaolae. Other possible causes are premenstrual changes and the use of oral contraceptives.
  4. 4. Fatigue – other possible causes are illness, stress and sudden lifestyle changes.
  5. Urinary frequency – urinary tract infection may also cause urinary frequency.

Second trimester:

  1. Quickening – other possible causes are intestinal gas, peristalsis or pseudocyesis
  2. Increased skin pigmentation: chloasma, linea nigra – Other possible causes are premenstrual changes and the use of oral contraceptives.
  3. Striae gravidarum

Probable Signs

First trimester:

  1. Chadwick’s sign – can also be possibly caused by hormonal imbalance.
  2. Goodell’s sign – can also be possibly caused by hormonal imbalance.
  3. Hegar’s sign – can also be possibly caused by hormonal imbalance.
  4. Positive HCG – Hydatidiform Mole can cause a positive HCG

Second trimester:

  1. Enlarged abdomen – could also be caused by abdominal or uterine tumors
  2. Braxton hicks contractions – presence of myomas can cause false and painless contractions
  3. Ballottement – other possible cause of this occurrence is the presence of uterine or cervical polyps.

Positive signs

First trimester:

1. Ultrasound evidence

Second trimester:

1. Fetal heart tones

2. Fetal movements

3. Fetal outline on x-ray

Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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