Am I Pregnant? Part 3

Am I Pregnant? How To Tell and What To Do
Part 3: Positive Signs

Welcome back to the PPS blog! This post is the third in a series on the signs of pregnancy. Medical professionals often lump the signs of pregnancy into three categories: presumptive signs, probable signs, and positive signs. Presumptive signs are symptoms that a lot of women experience in the early stages of or throughout their pregnancy. Having any one of these symptoms does not mean definitively that you are pregnant but having a combination of them without another clear cause may indicate possible pregnancy. If you’re curious about the presumptive signs of pregnancy and what to do if you are experiencing them, click here to read more. Probable signs are the signs that often tell medical professionals there is a good chance you are pregnant. A lot of them are determined by clinical exams and tests. They are not 100% definitive but they, especially in combination with one another, determine that you are likely pregnant. If you want to learn more about these signs, click here to read the previous blog.

Today, we will move on to the absolute, positive signs of pregnancy.

Positive Signs
These are the signs that guarantee the presence of a baby. These can be determined by a medical professional and by using an ultrasound or Doppler machine (1).
  • Fetal Heart Tones
    • Fun Fact: the heart is actually one of the first organs to develop in an embryo (4). This means a heartbeat can be used as an early diagnostic tool and positive sign of pregnancy. 
    • A fetal heartbeat may first be detected by a vaginal ultrasound as early as 5 1/2 to 6 weeks after your last period (4). There is no other known explanation in the medical world for hearing a baby’s heartbeat, and so a fetal heartbeat is considered to be a positive, sure sign of pregnancy. Note: Even though a heartbeat cannot typically be detected by ultrasound until the sixth week of pregnancy or later, we know that the basic framework of the heart is formed as early as week 2 of pregnancy with the introduction of the “cardiac crescent” (3), from which the rest of the heart grows. As smooth muscle cells are formed, an embryo’s heart has the capacity to contract and beat even earlier than it can be seen on ultrasound.
    • Even at the early, early age of 22 days, a baby’s heart is in the making and initiating its first heart beats. By the end of week 4, the heart is actively being used for fetal blood circulation (3). 
  • Ultrasound Evidence of a Fetus 
    • In addition to the heart beat, an ultrasound can reveal an image of a baby in the uterus. This can be done as early as 4 ½ weeks after your last period, though many doctors do not typically perform ultrasounds until at least 6 weeks after you become pregnant in order to get a clearer picture and assessment (5). Since ultrasound allows us to see the baby with our own eyes (even map its movement!) it is considered a positive sign of pregnancy (1).

So, as you may have noticed there are a lot of possible signs of pregnancy, but fewer absolute ones. This is because there may be other explanations for presumptive or positive signs, but no other medical explanations for these positive signs we have mentioned. These signs indicate 100% that you are pregnant. It is also important to mention that these signs are not ones you can typically diagnose at home and need the tools and knowledge of healthcare professionals to assess.

If you are experiencing any of the signs we have discussed so far in these posts and you are suspecting you may be pregnant, your next step would be to take a pregnancy test. Though you can get one over-the-counter at most grocery stores and pharmacies, you can also book a free appointment here with Paulding Pregnancy Services. Our tests are designed for medical professional use and are more sensitive to the HCG, or pregnancy,  hormone than an over-the-counter pregnancy test, meaning it will be more accurate and be of less cost to you. From there, Paulding Pregnancy Services can help you determine your next steps in the process, whether that be options counseling, ultrasound services, or getting you necessary pregnancy care.

Thanks for tuning in this week. Check back here frequently for more answers to your essential pregnancy questions. If you have further questions about the content, additional comments, or just something you’d like to share, feel free to drop it in the comment section below or reach out to contact@pauldingpregnancy.com. We would love to connect with you and get you the trusted medical information you need to make educated decisions in regards to your health.
 
*The information contained in this blog is for educational and informative purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice and care of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.*

Sources:
  1. https://www.registerednursing.org/nclex/anti-intra-postpartum-newborn-care/
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menstrual-cycle/art-20047186
  3. https://www.karger.com/Article/Fulltext/501906
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/when-can-you-hear-babys-heartbeat
  5. https://www.toplinemd.com/carreras-medical-center/how-early-can-a-healthy-pregnancy-be-seen-on-an-ultrasound-scan/

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