This sign is used as an indicator of pregnancy. It is named after William Goodell, an American gynecologist. As modern labs and over-the-counter tests are now available to accurately confirm pregnancy, it is now of very little clinical usefulness.

The Sign and its Interpretation

  1. The sign is detected during the bimanual examination
  2. It is positive if the cervix is softer than normal
  3. It is negative if the cervix has a normal consistency
  • In non-pregnant women, the cervix is fibrous and has the same consistency as the tip of one's nose. During pregnancy, this softens due to edema
  • No studies have looked at Goodell's sign alone, but one study which examined the utility of Goodell's Hegar's, and Chadwick's sign found them to have a combined sensitivity of 18% and specificity of 94%


  1. Bastian LA, Piscitelli JT. Is this patient pregnant? Can you reliably rule in or rule out early pregnancy by clinical examination. JAMA. 1997;278:586-591
  2. Bastian LA, Brown HL. Diagnosis and clinical manifestations of early pregnancy. UpToDate 18.3. Topic last updated July 13, 2010.