Dealing with a False Negative Pregnancy Test
Home pregnancy tests can be quite confusing at times and each pregnancy test is done just a little bit differently so you can’t always judge one pregnancy test from another. Some are designed to show a line on the pregnancy test, while others are digitized to say “Pregnant” or “Not pregnant”. Some can detect a pregnancy as early as five days before a missed period while others aren’t as sensitive and give a faint negative pregnancy test unless it is after the missed period.
Tips on coping with a false negative pregnancy test
The chances of a false negative pregnancy test go down as you get further and further out from your last menstrual period. Even so, tests like Clear Blue Easy, EPT, New Choice, First Response, and Equate are designed to be able to let you know you are pregnant before your missed period. This doesn’t always work out that way because HCG levels vary from pregnancy to pregnancy and not every home pregnancy test detects the HCG levels at the same rate. Statistics says that if you wait until you have actually missed your period, the odds of a false negative pregnancy test go way down.
Can you get a false negative pregnancy test on the day of your missed period?
Your home pregnancy test can be a little finicky even when you have reached the day of your missed menstrual period. If you don’t do a first-morning specimen of urine, you can have a false negative pregnancy test even if it isn’t an early pregnancy test. Specimens collected later on during the day are less reliable and even the digital tests can fail. Check to make sure that your home pregnancy test has not expired as this can affect the quality of the test. In such cases, a very faint negative line might be visible when a non-expired test would have shown a more robust line. When you are having trouble with pregnancy tests that involve two lines, go to a digitized test that will just say “pregnant” or “not pregnant”.
What can cause a false negative pregnancy test?
False negative pregnancy tests can happen when the test has expired, you have had an abnormal menstrual cycle, or when you didn’t collect a first-morning specimen for the test. Reasons for a false-negative pregnancy test can also be that the pregnancy just isn’t yielding very high HCG levels. Experts say that if the home pregnancy test is negative and you still believe you are pregnant, you should seek the advice of your doctor who will probably do a blood pregnancy test. A quantitative HCG test will tell you the exact number of mIU/ml of HCG is in the bloodstream at any given point in time. This number should double every 48 hours in the first part of a pregnancy. Tests were done 48 hours apart that show doubling of the HCG levels indicate a healthy pregnancy while those that don’t double are suspect for a possible impending miscarriage.
How common are False Negative Pregnancy Tests while Breastfeeding?
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to get pregnant while breastfeeding, especially if you have been breast feeding for some time. The chances of a false negative pregnancy test isn’t any higher than when you are not breastfeeding but it is difficult to know when to take the test because you may not have had a last menstrual period to go by when judging when to take the test. If you think you might be pregnant and are breastfeeding, take a quality home pregnancy test every few days to see if you get a test to become positive. If you get a positive test and you have no landmarks to go by as to when you got pregnant, the doctor will likely do an ultrasound for proper dating of the pregnancy.
Can you have a false negative pregnancy test after your missed period?
The odds of a false negative pregnancy test goes down considerably after your missed menstrual period because, by then, the urine HCG levels can be quite high. Even so, there are stories of women who had false negative pregnancy tests throughout their pregnancy. A fact that most people don’t know is that the HCG level drops at the end of the pregnancy so that technically you could be within days of giving birth and might still have a false negative pregnancy test. This has happened, surprising some women who didn’t know they were pregnant until they went into labor. Again, make sure you use a first morning specimen and use an EPT test or similar test that has not expired to make the accuracy of the test as good as possible.
What causes a false negative pregnancy test early in the pregnancy?
If you have long or irregular menstrual cycles and try an early pregnancy test, you may not get a positive result because you didn’t have the correct date of ovulation. You can prove when you ovulated using an ovulation test kit that shows the surge in luteinizing hormone at the time of ovulation. About 11 days after that, you should ideally have a positive pregnancy test if you became pregnant during that cycle. If the test is negative, wait a couple of days and repeat the test, making sure that you use a first-morning specimen of urine for the test. If the test still shows up as negative and you haven’t had your period, see the doctor for a blood pregnancy test, which will show elevated levels of HCG even when the test is done later on during the day.
A false negative pregnancy test can be very frustrating and expensive when you have to go out and purchase more tests to find out if you are pregnant. This is why many pregnancy test kits are sold in batches of two to three so that if you get a false negative, you can wait a few days and retake the test. Make sure you read the instructions on the test and know the difference between what a positive test will show and what a negative test will show. Read the directions well before you get up in the morning to actually take the test so you aren’t fumbling around, needing to urinate but unable to do so because you haven’t read the directions on the test kit.
Which kind of pregnancy test should you get? To reduce the chances of a false negative test, purchase a test that will give you positive results at five days before your missed period. This basically means it is a more sensitive test and will give you a better chance of showing a positive. If you have trouble with the tests that just show two lines if you are pregnant, get a digitized pregnancy test that will simply tell you if you are pregnant or not. These digitized tests are no different than other home pregnancy tests but they are very simple to interpret. Tests that show a plus sign or a minus sign are also relatively easy to interpret although faint lines can show up on those tests in very early pregnancy and you can’t really tell if the plus sign is real or not. When in doubt, see your doctor for a blood test or an ultrasound that will show an early pregnancy and will help you date the pregnancy.