Pregnancy tests are more reliable than ever, but that doesn’t mean there is no possibility of mistakes. In fact, there is still a lot of scope for getting incorrect readings that lead to an incorrect pregnancy test.
This is especially true when it comes to false negative pregnancy tests. A false negative result means that you are seeing a negative result but are actually pregnant. The most common reason for a false negative pregnancy test result is that the test was taken too early or a mistake was made while performing the test. Pregnancy tests detect pregnancy by absorbing the hormone HCG in your urine. In the early stages of pregnancy, HCG is produced quickly, with more and more being detectable with each passing day.
A false negative pregnancy test can cause confusion. Here we’ve rounded up some goodies to help you with that. Our most important piece of advice is of course that if the results are confusing, there is nothing wrong with making a doctor’s appointment to get clarity.
Everything you need to know about a false pregnancy test
False Negative Tests – How Can They Occur?
Incorrect pregnancy tests with negative results can have various causes. We’ll break down all of the reasons that could potentially arise:
Take 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. As soon as the egg cell adheres to the lining of the uterus, HCG production begins and enters the urine and bloodstream. Give it enough time. You can be patient, I promise!
Check your test too early or too late
Read the instructions for your specific pregnancy test. If you check the test results too quickly, you can get a false negative result (you can read our story about it here). On the other hand, you don’t want to take too long to read the results either, as this can also lead to an error. Set a timer or have your partner set a timer so you know when is the right time to check the results.
Miscalculate your period
If you are patient, keep in mind that if you have frequent irregular periods, you may be misjudging the date of your first missed period. If you get a negative result but think you might be pregnant, try another test in a few days or make a doctor’s appointment to have a test.
You drank too much fluids before the test
Drinking too much water before the test can lead to a false pregnancy test. Your urine is too dilute because you swallowed a lot of fluids just before the test.
You are taking diuretics or antihistamines
Taking certain medications can change the test results. So, if you missed your period and are taking a diuretic or antihistamine, you may want to see your doctor to see if you are pregnant.
It could be the test itself
One reason for false negative results can simply be the type of pregnancy test you are doing. Certain tests are more sensitive than others, so instead of sticking to one brand, buy a few different types. This will make you feel better overall about your results.
You could expect many more
We know this seems super strange and doesn’t really make sense. And while that is rarely the case for a false negative, it is possible. Multiples will cause your HCG levels to be very high and this can break the pregnancy test and cause false negative results.
It could be an ectopic pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy can be another cause of a false negative pregnancy test. An ectopic pregnancy is when the embryo does not adhere to the lining of the uterus, but rather elsewhere, such as in the fallopian tubes. If so, HCG may not be produced properly, resulting in a false negative result. If your missed period and you are in extreme pain, you should see your doctor right away. Contacting the The doctor will immediately rule out an ectopic pregnancy.
Can You Take a False Positive Pregnancy Test?
While it is very, very rare, it is possible to get a false pregnancy test. Even the tiniest lines on a pregnancy test mean you are pregnant. Here are the cases when this can occur.
If you wait too long to look at your pregnancy test (more than 10 minutes), a line of evaporation from urine may form on the test, leading to a false positive result. Please be sure to follow the instructions for your test.
You can get a false positive if there is blood or protein in your urine. Certain medications such as sedatives, anticonvulsants or hypnotics can also lead to false positive results.
While a wrong pregnancy test can be frustrating, our main advice is to stay positive, be patient, and if you feel like something is wrong please see a doctor.
Do you have any questions about false pregnancy tests? Leave us a question in the comments? Or visit our Rookie Moms Facebook group, where a team of mothers are there to help each other.
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