This review will cover the presumptive, probable, and positive signs of pregnancy in preparation for maternity nursing exams.
There are 3 different categories for the signs of pregnancy you need to know for exams. The categories are: Presumptive, Probable, and Positive
For exams, you will be given scenarios where you will have to distinguish presumptive, probable, and positive pregnancy signs and symptoms from each other.
Lecture on Signs of Pregnancy: Presumptive, Probable, and Positive
Presumptive Signs of Pregnancy
Presumptive means speculation or unconfirmed.
These are signs of pregnancy the woman is experiencing that makes her suspicious she may be pregnant. Therefore, these signs are based on her report of them…so they’re subjective. They are not definite in that they indicate a baby is growing in the uterus because other conditions could cause these presumptive signs (PMS is very similar to these signs). However, the woman could presume she may be pregnant.
Period absent (amenorrhea)
Really tired (fatigue)
Movement of fetus in uterus…woman perceives fluttering sensation in her lower abdomen…this is referred to as “quickening”
- Quickening can occur at 16 weeks for 2nd time moms and around 20 weeks for 1st time moms
Emesis and nausea
Probable Signs of Pregnancy
Probable means likely to be the reason…probably…very likely.
These are pregnancy signs that the nurse or doctor can observe and document. However, these signs do NOT mean 100% that a baby is growing in the uterus. It can be due to other causes.
Positive pregnancy test
Returning of the fetus (ex: bouncing back of the fetus) against the fingers when the uterus is pushed during palpation. This is termed as “external ballottement”.
Outline of fetus can be palpated
Braxton Hicks Contractions: false labor contractions that are not regular and won’t result in cervical dilation
A softening of the cervix “Goodell’s Sign” ….happens around the 6-8th week of gestation
Bluish color to the vulva, cervix, and vagina due to increased blood flow….happens around 4 weeks gestation “Chadwick’s Sign”
Lower uterine segment (LUS) becomes soft “Hegar’s Sign”…happens around 6-12 week of gestation
Positive Signs of Pregnancy
Positive means conclusive, definite, or absolute.
These signs are present because they can only be attributed to a FETUS. There is no other cause. The woman is definitely pregnant. The signs will deal with the baby being the evidence itself.
Fetal movements felt by doctor or nurse
Electronic device detects fetal heart sounds (Doppler)
The delivery of the baby
Ultrasound detects the fetus
See visible movement of the baby by the doctor or nurse
Test your knowledge: Signs of Pregnancy Presumptive, Probable, Positive Quiz
Knowing if you are pregnant | womenshealth.gov. Retrieved 6 February 2020, from https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-get-pregnant/knowing-if-you-are-pregnant
What are some common signs of pregnancy?. Retrieved 6 February 2020, from https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/pregnancy/conditioninfo/signs