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The earliest sign of pregnancyand thereason most pregnant women initially seea physician is missing a menstrual period. For sexually active women who are of reproductiveage and haveregular periods,missing a period for ≥ 1 wk is presumptive evidence of pregnancy.
Pregnancy is considered to last 266 days from the time of conception or 280 days from the first day of the last menstrual period if periods occur regularly every 28 days. Delivery date is estimated basedon thelast menstrual period. Delivery up to 2 wk earlier or later than the estimated date is normal.
Symptoms and Signs Pregnancy maycausebreaststo beengorged because of increased levels of estrogen (primarily)and progesterone—an extension of premenstrual breast engorgement. Nausea, occasionally with vomiting, may occur because of increased secretion of estrogen and the β subunit of human chorionic gonadotropin (β-hCG) by syncytial cellsof the placenta, beginning 10 days after fertilization (see Conception and Prenatal Development). The corpus luteum in the ovary, stimulated by β-hCG, continues secreting large amounts of estrogen and progesterone to maintain the pregnancy. Many women become fatigued at this time, and a few women notice abdominal bloating very early. Women usually begin to feel fetal movement between 16 and 20 wk.
Pelvic examination findingsinclude a softer cervix and an irregularly softened, enlarged uterus. The cervix usually becomesbluish to purple,probably because blood supply to the uterus is increased. Around 12 wk gestation, the uterus extends above the true pelvis into the abdomen; at 20 wk, it reaches the umbilicus; and by 36 wk, the upper pole almost reaches the xiphoid process.
Diagnosis Usually urine and occasionally blood tests are used to confirm or exclude pregnancy; results are usually accurate several days before a missed menstrual period and often as early as several days after conception. Levels of β-hCG, which correlate with gestational age in normal pregnancies, can be used to determine whether a fetus is growing normally. The best approach is to compare2 serum β-hCG values, obtained 48 to 72 h apart and measured
In a normal single pregnancy.by the same laboratory. Other accepted signs of pregnancy include the following: Presence of a gestational sac in the uterus.1 days during the first 60 days (7.5 wk). Regular doubling of the β-hCG level during the 1st trimester strongly suggestsnormal growth.4 to 2. seen with ultrasonography typically at about 4 to 5 wk and typically corresponding to a serum β-hCG level of about 1500 mIU/mL (a yolk sac can usually be seen in the gestational sac by 5 wk) Fetal heart motion. then begin to decrease between 10 and 18 wk. heard with Doppler ultrasonography as early as 8 to 10 wk if the uterus is accessible abdominally Fetal movements felt by the examining physician after 20 wk . seen with real-time ultrasonography as early as 5 to 6 wk Fetal heart sounds. β-hCG levelsdouble about every 1.