Diagnosis of Pregnancy

There are many ways to detect (diagnose) pregnancy. Pregnancy can be diagnosed by the pregnant woman without any medical test (without any assistance from a doctor) or it can be detected using medical test without help from a health care provider. The pregnant woman may also be aware of the pregnancy by some typical symptoms.

Symptoms during early pregnancy:

Most pregnant women develop some typical symptoms which may indicate pregnancy. The symptoms during early pregnancy include missed menstrual period (more than few days), nausea and vomiting (known as morning sickness and this is probably due to increased hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin level, which is detected in pregnancy diagnostic test kits), craving of some foods which the pregnant woman may not be fond of before pregnancy (e.g. pregnant woman may develop liking of sour or bitter or some atypical foods), tiredness, frequent urination etc.

Medical signs during early pregnancy:

Pregnant women also develop some signs during first few weeks of pregnancy. The signs may not be diagnostic of pregnancy, but if taken into account collectively, the signs may help in presuming pregnancy. The medical signs include:

  • hCG in blood and urine (detection of hCG is used in diagnostic test kits)
  • Implantation bleeding (3-4 weeks after last menstrual period)
  • Darkening of cervix, vulva and vagina, known as Chadwick’s sign.
  • Darkening of linea Alba, known as linea nigra, due to hyperpigmentation.
  • Softening of isthmus of uterus known as Hegar’s sign.
  • Softening of the vaginal part of cervix known as Goodell’s sign.
  • Breast tenderness.

Pregnancy tests detect hormones (e.g. hCG) produced by placenta. It is possible to detect pregnancy 12 days after fertilization and for this blood tests are more accurate than urine tests. Home pregnancy tests kits can detect pregnancy in approximately two weeks (12-15 days) after fertilization.

Ultrasound during pregnancy:

Ultrasound during early pregnancy can determine the age of the fetus and also helpful in accurate diagnosis of pregnancy, especially when there is doubt about blood and urine pregnancy tests.

Image: duron123 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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