You’ve noticed a faint line on the pregnancy test you’ve just taken, and you’re wondering, “Am I pregnant?”
Reading the results of a home pregnancy test should be easy, but it’s not always. Newer digital pregnancy tests, like the one from Clearblue Easy, make it simple to interpret your results. The window will say either “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant.” If you’re using a traditional home pregnancy test – like the ones that show a line, or a symptom (plus or minus), understanding your results can be a bit trickier.
A Very Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test
There is a good chance that you might be pregnant if you noticed a very faint line on a pregnancy test you’ve taken, but I would highly recommend that you wait a few days and take another test.
The faint line on the pregnancy test indicates a few important things:
1.You have taken a home pregnancy test too early to get a 100 percent accurate result. For the HPT to give you a positive result (and a darker, more definitive “pregnant” line), your body has to be producing enough human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) – a unique pregnancy hormone.
Any trace of hCG in your blood will turn a home pregnancy test positive, but if you notice a very, very, very faint line on the pregnancy test, it’s a good idea to take another test in a few days (when the concentration of hCG in your blood is higher) to get further confirmation that you are indeed pregnant.
2.The home pregnancy test isn’t sensitive enough. Sometimes, a faint line indicates that the test that you’re using isn’t sensitive enough to pick up the hCG levels in your body. That’s why you got a faint line, rather than a darker line.
Home pregnancy tests have different sensitivities. The most sensitive ones (which typically are more expensive to buy) can detect pregnancy much sooner than a cheaper, less sensitive test. For example, a pregnancy test that has a sensitivity of 20 IU/L is more sensitive and will let you know that you’re pregnant sooner than a test that has a sensitivity of 50 IU/L. Most home pregnancy tests note the sensitivity level somewhere on the box.
3. Your urine is too diluted for an accurate result. As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to take the home pregnancy test first thing in the morning – when you first wake up. Morning urine is always more concentrated (with hCG, if present), since you haven’t been drinking or eating during the night. You will get more accurate results by testing after you first wake up.
4. You’re not as pregnant as you thought. A faint line on a pregnancy test can sometimes mean that you’re not as far along as you expected. You may have miscalculated your missed period, so it’s too early in the pregnancy to really get an accurate result. Wait 2-3 days and take another home pregnancy test to get better results. The further along you are in pregnancy, the higher the level of hCG in your body is.
5. You wait too long to read the home pregnancy test. Before you take any pregnancy test, you need to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Most tests recommend that you read the results between 3 and 10 minutes. Reading after 10 minutes have passed will give you an inaccurate result. There are some pregnancy tests that may produce a false positive result – you get a faint line, even though you are not pregnant – if you read it after the recommended time period, as outlined in the tests’ instructions.
6. The home pregnancy test is expired. Before you use any home pregnancy test, always double-check the expiration date. An expired test can give you false results. For example, you might get a very faint positive line, even though you are not expecting a baby.
7.If you use medications that contain hCG, you can get a very faint line on a pregnancy test, but you are indeed not pregnant. Any medications that contain synthetic hCG can skew the result of the pregnancy test.
Chemical Pregnancy (Early Miscarriage)
If you notice a faint line on a pregnancy test, but a few days later, you test again and you get a negative result, you may have experienced a chemical pregnancy, or a very early miscarriage.
An estimated 20 to 30 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, and chemical pregnancies are believed to account for 50 to 75 percent of early pregnancy losses.
Most chemical pregnancies take place before the woman ever realizes she was pregnant. Her period might be late that month, but it finally comes and she experienced regular “menstrual” bleeding.
Chemical pregnancies can start with a faint positive line on a home pregnancy test, then days later, the woman has “her period.” Most doctors believe that these early miscarriages are caused by the same reasons that other first trimester miscarriages occur – there are chromosomal abnormalities in the baby.
After Getting a Faint Line on the Home Pregnancy Test
If you notice a very faint line on your pregnancy test, you need to wait a few days and take another home pregnancy test.
For a more accurate way to detect pregnancy, you need to contact your gynecologist or healthcare provider and request that you get a blood pregnancy test performed. These are more accurate since it can measure the concentration of hCG in your bloodstream.