Pregnancy tests are more reliable than ever before, but that doesn’t mean there is no room for error. In fact, there is still quite a bit of room to get the wrong reading resulting in a false pregnancy test.
This is especially true when it comes to false negative pregnancy tests. A false negative means you see a negative result but you are actually pregnant. The most common reason for getting a false negative pregnancy test result is that the test has been taken too early or there was some error made when taking the test. Pregnancy tests detect pregnancy by picking up on the hormone HCG in your urine. In the early stages of pregnancy, HCG is produced rapidly with more and more being detectable with every passing day.
Getting a false negative pregnancy test can cause lots of confusion. Here we have pulled together some tidbits to help you through it. Of course, our number one piece of advice is that if results are confusing then there is nothing wrong with making a doctor’s appointment to get some clarity.
Everything to know about a False Pregnancy Test
False Negative Tests – How can they occur?
False pregnancy tests that result in a negative can occur for a number of different reasons. We will break down all the reasons this can possibly occur:
Taking a Test too Early
While there are tests that can give you a result before your missed period or on the first day of your missed period, waiting until after the first day of your missed period will produce the most accurate results. Once the egg attaches to the uterine lining HCG begins to be produced and enters urine and the bloodstream. Give this enough time to happen. You can be patient, we promise!
Checking Your Test Too Early or Too Late
Read the instructions for your specific pregnancy test. If you check the test results too quickly you may get a false negative result (you can read our story about that here). On the other hand, you also do not want to take too long to read the results because that can cause an error as well. Set a timer or have your partner set a timer so that you know when the exact right time to check the results.
Miscalculating Your Period
Going along with being patient, keep in mind that if you often have irregular periods you may be miscalculating the date of your first missed period. If you get a negative result but feel like there is a chance you may be pregnant, try to take another test in a few days or make a doctor’s appointment to take a test there.
You Drank too many fluids before the test
If you drink too much water before the test it could cause a false pregnancy test. Your urine is too diluted because you drank large amounts of fluids right before the test.
You are taking a diuretics or antihistamines
If you are taking certain medications it can alter the results of the test, so if you missed your period and are on a diuretic or antihistamine, you might want to take a visit to your doctor to see if you are pregnant.
It Could be the Test itself
One reason for false negative results may simply be the type of pregnancy test you are taking. Certain tests are more sensitive than others, so buy a couple of different kinds rather than sticking to one brand. This will make you feel better about your results overall.
You Might Be Expecting Multiples
We know this seems super weird and doesn’t really make sense. And while this is rarely the case for a false negative, it is possible. Multiples cause your HCG levels to be very high and this can throw the pregnancy test off causing false negatives.
It might be an Ectopic Pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancy can be another cause for a false negative pregnancy test. An ectopic pregnancy is when the embryo does not attach to the uterine lining but attaches elsewhere like in the fallopian tubes. If this is the case HCG may not be being produced properly causing a false negative. If you have missed your period and are having any sort of extreme pain, you should contact your doctor immediately. Contacting the doctor immediately will rule out an ectopic pregnancy.
Can you have a False Positive Pregnancy Test?
While it is very, very rare, it is possible to have a false pregnancy test. Even the faintest of lines on a pregnancy test means you are pregnant. Here are the cases where this can occur.
If you wait too long to look at your pregnancy test (over 10 minutes) an evaporation line can form on the test from the urine, leading to a false positive. Please make sure to follow the instructions on your test.
You could have a false-positive result if blood or protein is present in your urine. And certain drugs, such as tranquilizers, anti-convulsants, or hypnotics, may also cause false-positive results.
While a false pregnancy test can be frustrating, our main advice is to stay positive, be patient and if you feel like anything is wrong please seek medical attention.
Do you have questions about False Pregnancy Tests? Leave us a question in the comments? Or check out our Rookie Moms Facebook Group where a team of moms is there to help each other.
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