You are currently viewing 6 Presumptive Signs of Pregnancy and Difference From Probable and Positive Signs

The subjective signs and symptoms that resemble as that of pregnancy are called as the presumptive signs of pregnancy. These symptoms can make a woman suspicious of her current condition and suspect that she may be pregnant. There may be other reasons for these symptoms such as PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome), however one may presume that she’s pregnant.

The signs and symptoms are divided into 3 main categories namely, presumptive, probable and positive. Each of these have their own set of symptoms that can indicate pregnancy.

What are the presumptive signs of pregnancy?

Presumptive pregnancy can also be termed as unconfirmed pregnancy or possible pregnancy. the symptoms can only make a woman suspect that she might be pregnant, however these may also occur due to other reasons such as PMS which is quite common. The prominent indication are as follows:

Urinary Urgency:

As the fetus develops, it causes pressure on the bladder, hence a woman can feel the need to urinate frequently. Urinary urgency or urinary frequency is one of the early signs of pregnancy. This starts by the 6-12 weeks of pregnancy as is one of the most common signs of early pregnancy.

Fatigue and Tiredness:

As the body undergoes many changes, you may feel tired and weak. This feeling is experienced due to many reasons. Your body is not used to the changes hence weakness may be felt. The tiredness also occurs due to the change in hormonal levels that plays an active role during pregnancy. you may feel weakness and tiredness around 12 weeks into pregnancy.


Absence of periods or menstruation is a prominent sign of pregnancy; however, it may be due to various reasons including hormonal imbalance and menopause. If you have a regular menstrual cycle and have missed one or two cycles, you can suspect that you might be pregnant. Other reasons for amenorrhea are:

  • Anemia
  • Medications
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Malnutrition
  • Menopause
  • Anorexia
  • Diabetes

Women with extreme stress or athletes may also suffer from absence of menstruation.

Nausea and Vomiting:

Feeling nauseating is one of the early signs of pregnancy and generally occurs in the first trimester. The unpleasant feeling occurs can also occur due to other reasons such as GIT (gastro intestinal tract) problems, however if felt along with other signs of presumptive pregnancy, it may indicate that you’re pregnant.

Tender and Enlarged Breasts:

The mammary glands start to develop at 6 weeks, this can result in having tender breasts with pronounced nipples. The breasts increase in size to prepare it for nursing purposes. One can feel like their breasts are getting fuller and larger, if you’re suspecting pregnancy, this may be an encouraging sign.

You should also consider the circumstances that symptoms show in, breast tenderness also occurs during menstrual period.

Fetal Movements:

A slight sensation in the lower abdomen occurs due to the fetal movements. The movements are also called as quickening. Quickening occurs at 20 weeks into pregnancy for first time moms and at 16 weeks for second time mothers.

The feeling should not be confused with peristaltic movements.

Since these are signs and symptoms that can be confused with pregnancy or other medical conditions, these are therefore called as the presumptive signs. Other or secondary presumptive signs of pregnancy can be:

  • Increased basal body temperature (BBT)
  • Poor sleep quality
  • Light headedness
  • Nasal congestion
  • Back pain
  • Mood swings
  • Food cravings
  • Constipation
  • Heart burn

Signs of Probable Pregnancy:

Probable signs refer to an increased chances of being pregnant. This means that the likelihood of your suspecting pregnancy is more but that still does not 100% mean that you’re pregnant.

Goodell’s Sign:

This occurs at 6-8 weeks after conceiving and refers to the softening of the cervix. Cervix softening can also happen during menstrual period but you can tell the difference as bleeding does not occur in cases of pregnancy.

Chadwick’s Sign:

At around 4 weeks of gestation, there is an increased blood flow which results in bluish color is the vulva, cervix and vagina.

Hegar’s Sign:

The softening of the lower uterine segment (LUS) is referred as Hegar’s sign and happens at 6-12 weeks into pregnancy.


The external ballottement are fetal movements or precisely returning movements by the fetus. During palpitations, the uterus is pushed by the fetal fingers or bouncing back of the fetus.

Other secondary signs are:

  • Bloating
  • Uterus enlargement
  • Cramps without bleeding
  • Pigmentation on areola or skin

Difference between presumptive and probable signs of pregnancy

The key difference between presumptive and probable signs of pregnancy is that the former are very early subjective and weak indicators that a woman might have conceived, whereas probable signs are more objective and clear in nature. For example, a missed menstrual period or morning sickness are presumptive signs of pregnancy but they might be caused by many other reasons too. On the other hand, a pregnancy test that checks for hCG hormone in human urine or blood or a visible gestational sac on an ultrasound examination are more reliable signs of pregnancy and provide more concrete evidence of pregnancy.

Positive Signs of Pregnancy:

Positive signs indicate an absolute pregnancy. the positive signs are attributed to the fetus only. There are no other reasons or causes for such symptoms and directs that the woman is definitely pregnant. The child itself is the evidence of a positive pregnancy.

The Signs of a Positive Pregnancy are:

  • Fetal heartbeat
  • Ultrasound detection
  • Fetal movements visible
  • hCG in urine or blood

Explanation of some common symptoms in early pregnancy:

Vaginal Bleeding:

About 20 – 40% of the pregnant women can experience vaginal bleeding during their first trimester. This can be often confused with light periods.

Morning Sickness:

Though it is called as morning sickness, it can happen at any time of the day and is common during the first trimester of pregnancy. morning sickness can last till the end of pregnancy for some women; however, it usually disappears in the beginning of second trimester.


Urinary urgency is common as the fetus puts pressure over the urinary bladder. A hormone called as hCG can be detected in the urine sample as a way of confirmation of the possible pregnancy. another sign of the probable pregnancy is the softening of the cervix which can be confirmed by a physician.

The Bottomline:

There are many ways to check whether you’re pregnant or not. As divided into three categories, each category can determine the possibility of the suspected pregnancy. if you’re not taking a test and you feel light changes in your body, you can check it by ticking off the presumptive signs of pregnancy. an individual symptom can occur due to many medical reasons. If these signs and symptoms are seen collectively, there is a good chance that you’re pregnant.

Probable signs are seen when there is a higher probability of the suspected pregnancy. everyone’s body is different and every woman may feel different symptoms at different levels, however, the discussion above were in reference to some of the most common ones. The best way to determine pregnancy is to still take a pregnancy test or an ultrasound for a confirmed result.

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