Health & Wellbeing Pregnancy

Signs Of Pregnancy: Presumptive, Probable & Positive (What To Look For)

What Are The Signs Of Pregnancy?

Health professionals use 3 distinct terms when describing the signs of pregnancy: Presumptive, Probable, and Positive.

What separates these categories is your chance of being pregnant.

Here are what the 3 terms mean, so you can understand their definitions:

  • Presumptive means you may be pregnant.
  • Probable means there’s a high chance you’re pregnant.
  • Positive means you are definitely pregnant.

Let’s take a look at these 3 categories and their signs in more detail.

Presumptive Signs Of Pregnancy

If possible it’s best to take a pregnancy test to help determine whether or not you are pregnant.

While home pregnancy tests are not 100% accurate, many manufacturers claim their tests are up to 99% accurate if used correctly.

However, there are some early pregnancy symptoms that, while not definite, may indicate that you may be pregnant.

So the way to think of a presumptive sign is one that alludes to the fact you may be pregnant, and indicates you may wish to investigate further.

10 Common Presumptive Signs Of Pregnancy

As any mom will tell you, during pregnancy your body goes through a lot of physical and hormonal changes.

It is therefore very common for moms-to-be to feel tired or fatigued when expecting, particularly during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

So while fatigue isn’t a definite sign that you’re pregnant, if you experience it with some of the other symptoms then it could indicate that you may be pregnant.

Woman Feeling Cold Wrapped in a Shawl and Drinking Tea

Nausea or Light-headedness

One of the most common (and clichéd) symptoms of early pregnancy is feeling nauseous or lightheaded.

Nausea (with or without vomiting) is also called morning sickness, although you should note that it can occur at any time of day or night, so it’s not limited to only the morning hours.

Feeling nauseous and / or lightheaded s is very common among pregnant women, with around 3/4 of all moms-to-be experiencing some sort of nausea during their pregnancy.

Enlarged Or Sore Breasts

One of the most significant changes to your body during pregnancy occurs to your breasts.

In preparation for producing milk for your baby, the breasts of moms-to-be will enlarge as they become heavier and fuller.

In addition, they may become tender and more sensitive, which are also presumptive signs of pregnancy.

Heartburn & Bloating

You know that horrible burning feeling in your chest or throat that’s referred to as heartburn?

Due to hormonal changes, heartburn is a common sign of pregnancy, along with an increased feeling of being bloated, uncomfortable or even gurgling sounds in your stomach.

Woman Suffering from a Stomach Pain


Have you heard the term quickening and aren’t sure what it refers to?

Quickening is when you start to feel your baby moving inside your uterus.

Expectant women describe quickening as feeling like fluttering butterflies in your stomach, or even like a rumbling stomach.

One thing to keep in mind however is that quickening often comes slightly later during pregnancy – at around 16 weeks or so.

Food cravings

Another very common and well known presumptive sign of pregnancy is experiencing food cravings.

Some of the most common cravings of women who are expecting include chocolate, fruit, ice cream and other dairy foods.

If you think you may be pregnant, you may want to stay on the safe side and avoid certain foods like unpasteurized diary, beef jerky and undercooked meat.

Mood swings

Due to stress, fatigue or significant hormonal changes, it is common for pregnant women to experience mood swings.

So if you find yourself experiencing mood changes, it may be another indication that you’re pregnant.

The good news according to the American Pregnancy Association is that mood swings are only temporary, and are mostly experienced during the first 6-10 weeks (as well as later on during your third trimester).

Shortness Of Breath

In addition to fatigue, women who are in the early stages of pregnancy can become tired from seemingly routine tasks.

If you find you are suddenly or unexpectedly out of breath while climbing up a flight of stairs, it may be another sign that you are in the early stages of pregnancy.

What Does Probable Sign Of Pregnancy Mean?

You may have heard the term probable signs of pregnancy and wondered what the exact definition is.

A probable sign of pregnancy means that there’s a strong chance that you may be pregnant.

Probable signs of pregnancy are ones that a healthcare professional can actually observe when they examine you.

List Of Probable Signs Of Pregnancy Include:

  • Ballottement:  The examiner inserts finger into your vagina, pushes on the uterus and feels the return of the fetus on their finger – i.e. the fetus bounces back.
  • Chadwick’s Sign: Blue or purple discoloration of the cervix, vagina and labia.
  • Goodell’s Sign: When the vaginal portion of the cervix gets softer.
  • Hegar’s Sign: Softening at the bottom of the uterus.
  • Barxton Hicks Contractions: False, non-regular labor contractions.
  • Positive Pregnancy Test: Pregnancy blood test which can detect pregnancy earlier than a urine test and is 99% accurate.
  • Enlarged Uterus

What Does Positive Sign Of Pregnancy Mean?

A positive sign of pregnancy is one that confirms you are pregnant.

Positive signs of pregnancy are definite, in as much as they fully confirm that you are pregnant and are usually carried out during your first prenatal appointment.

Common Positive Signs Of Pregnancy Include:

  • Ultrasound: Which detects the fetus.
  • Fetal Movement: Felt by your doctor, nurse or other healthcare professional.
  • Heartbeat: Detected by a Doppler or Fetoscope

Photo Of Ultrasound

In Conclusion:

  • The signs of pregnancy are classified into 3 categories: Presumptive, Probable and Positive.
  • Presumptive indicate you may be pregnant, Probable indicate there’s a high chance you are pregnant, while a Positive sign lets you know that you are definitely pregnant.
  • Some of the signs which indicate you could be pregnant include a missed period, needing to pee more often, enlarged or sore breasts, nausea and fatigue.
  • Signs that indicate there is a strong chance you’re pregnant are ones that a medical professional can actually observe when they examine you, and include the fetus bouncing back and a softening of the uterus and cervix.
  • Signs that confirm your pregnancy are an ultrasound, fetal movement felt by your doctor or nurse, and the detection of a heartbeat.

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Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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