Have you been trying to get pregnant lately? You may experience a range of symptoms that can be taken as probable signs of pregnancy. However, classification and a good understanding of these signs is important as most of them are not exclusive to pregnancy and maybe a part and parcel of other disease processes.
Presumptive signs of pregnancy
These are the signs indicating the possibility or speculation of a pregnancy. These signs are subjective- that is you report them yourself, indefinite and not precise as they may also be indicative of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), menopause or any other local or systemic disease. Some of these signs are as follows:
Amenorrhea (Absence of periods)
Missing a period is often the first thing that leads you to think of a possible pregnancy. However, that is not always the case as amenorrhea. It can also suggest changes in hormonal levels as occurs before or during the menopause, or even in some tumors.
Vomiting and nausea
Often termed as ‘morning sickness’ as nausea and vomiting usually occur early in the morning, mostly in the first trimester, though you may even continue having episodes of nausea and vomiting throughout the duration of pregnancy till delivery occurs. These symptoms are not very specific as they are also a part of other conditions such as gastrointestinal disorders, indigestion or food poisoning, stress, side effect of medications, and even a result of head trauma.
Changes in breasts
The breasts increase in size and become more tender and firm as pregnancy proceeds. The veins also become more visible due to an increase in the blood supply. You may experience soreness in the breasts as well. By the 12th week, you may be able to express a thick yellowish secretion (colostrum). However, these changes aren’t restricted to pregnancy and can also occur in injury, breast disease as well as hormonal factors.
It’s pretty natural for you to feel drained as your body is nesting your baby for a period of nine months. But it’s obviously not a pregnancy – exclusive event.
You may feel the need to pee again and again but this can also occur in diabetes, an infection of the urinary tract, tumors, excess drinking and some medications such as diuretics.
Lassitude (A lack of energy)
You feel like drained all around the day and have no energy or motivation even to do house chores.
Also Read: Top 10 Reliable Homemade Pregnancy Tests
Probable Signs of Pregnancy
These are the signs pointing towards an increased likelihood or possibility of you being pregnant. However, the probable signs of pregnancy again are non-confirmatory. You still require definite testing to make sure if you’re pregnant or not. These signs are as follows:
Positive pregnancy test
Although in majority of the cases, a positive UPT (urine pregnancy test) means you are expecting, it may be falsely positive for a number of reasons:
- The urine is too dilute at the time of the test.
- You’re on fertility medications that resulted in an increased level of HCG hormone (the hormone that the stick test picks up).
- The test was expired.
- An ectopic pregnancy – pregnancy outside the uterus.
- Early signs of a miscarriage.
- You took the test the wrong way.
Softening of the cervix (the inner opening of your vagina that leads to the uterus) usually occurs around the 6-8th week of pregnancy.
Upon applying pressure on the lower part of the tummy where the uterus is, the growing baby bounces back against the fingers when the uterus is pushed.
Braxton Hicks contractions
These are false contractions of the uterus that are similar to labor, often putting you in distress as you’re not even due yet. However, these contractions can not dilate the uterus or cause the delivery of the baby.
Increased blood flow to the uterus, cervix, and vagina results in a bluish coloration. This occurs around the 4th week of pregnancy
An enlarged abdomen
The tummy can be enlarged from other reasons too – from bloating as occurs in PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and menstruation or from a slight weight gain.
Increase in the skin pigmentation
- Striae Gravidarum: These are stretch marks that appear on the tummy and /or buttocks. They are also sometimes present in patients with sudden weight gain or loss and patients of Cushing’s disease.
- Linea Nigra: This is a dark-colored line that appears on the tummy in the midline, around and about the belly button. It may be a probable sign of pregnancy in a mum-to-be that has never been pregnant before.
- Chloasma: This is a bronze– brown discoloration that appears on the face of pregnant women especially those with dark-colored hair.
Also read: Is Skin Bleaching During Pregnancy Safe?
Positive Signs of Pregnancy (Signs confirming the presence of a pregnancy)
These signs are definite, absolute and objective – as your doctor or nurse tells you about them. These signs are as follows:
- Detection of fetal heart rate: This is no doubt one of the most reliable signs of pregnancy. The heart of the growing baby beats an average of about 110-120 times in one minute.
- Detection of fetal movements: Your doctor can feel the movements of the baby after 24 weeks. In the beginning, you can only feel a few movements of the baby but as the baby keeps on growing, the movements become more rapid. And apart from keeping you up at night sometimes, these movements spark joy and happiness as you prepare yourself to welcome your new guest into this world.
- Detection of fetal outline: Outline of the baby’s body parts, specifically back and head as well as arms and legs can be easily felt after the 24th week of pregnancy.
- Ultrasound Detection of Fetus: Ultrasound is a non-invasive test that helps to confirm the status of your gestation, that is how far you are down the lane as well as making sure that the baby is doing well.
Also read: How Do Babies Get Hiccups In The Womb?
Probable Signs of Pregnancy: How to confirm it?
The probable signs of pregnancy do point to a current pregnancy in the majority of the cases. As these symptoms are felt by you yourself, they drive you to wonder whether there is a pea in the pod or not. However, these are still not definite. You would be needing a complete workup to confirm your pregnancy status, which includes blood tests and an ultrasound. This is important as adequate and timely prenatal care is necessary. So that you may have smooth and uneventful pregnancy and delivery of a healthy, happy baby.