Home Pregnancy Test Kits: The savior for expectant parents. With their easy availability, convenience, and economic costs, expectant parents are sure to get one each from different brands to confirm the pregnancy without any doubts. However, the home pregnancy test results can be quite confusing at times. Positive, Negative, False-Positive, False-Negative, and Faint-Positive! Though the pregnancy test kit may show only two results: A plus or two-lines for Positive and a minus or one-line for Negative, there is also a third possibility- A Faint Positive Line.
Let’s probe more into it.
A little background on Home Pregnancy Tests:
To all the new expectant parents, let me spill the beans here about what Home Pregnancy Tests do. A hormone called human Chorionic Gonadotropin, simply put hCG starts secreting at a higher level when you are pregnant. This hormone is developed after successful fertilization and once the embryo starts growing and leads to the formation of the placenta, which helps in nurturing the fetus. Until 8 to 11 days after conception, the level of hCG stays low and starts doubling every 2 days till you reach 6 weeks of pregnancy and reaches the highest level at the end of your first trimester. Post that, the amount of hCG starts decreasing.
Though they are present in trace amounts in every woman, pregnant or not, the higher levels are detected in the urine, which is the source for the home pregnancy tests. There are certain antibodies present in the pregnancy test kit, which catches the higher level of hCG and give you a positive test result!
Common mistakes when taking a Home Pregnancy Test:
When you get your pregnancy kit, ensure to read the instructions thoroughly, for accurate and timely results. The most common mistakes that people do when taking a home pregnancy test are:
- Not checking on the instructions.
- Leaving the sample for a longer time than intended.
- Not taking the test at the right time.
- Not checking the expiration date of the test kit.
- Improper monitoring of your menstrual cycle.
- Reading the test result before it is time.
- Not using enough urine/ Using too much urine.
What may seem like trivial mistakes can mislead your pregnancy test kit and give unfavorable results. Avoiding the above mistakes will help the expectant parents to get 99.99% accurate results as the pregnancy test kits are designed to achieve.
Decoding Faint Line on Pregnancy Test
Now as you are all set to interpret your result, the most straightforward results are positive and negative. But what if the positive line tends to be so feeble and faint, that you are left to ponder about confirming your pregnancy?
In most cases, a faint positive line means you are pregnant! The faint positive line can mean:
- You have taken the test too early - Yes, you are pregnant, but you have taken the test too early right after conception. The test has caught the traces of hCG but not enough to produce a strong positive line. Taking the test after a few days might help in confirming the positive test result as hCG levels would have increased in your urine.
- Your urine is diluted - The best time to take a home pregnancy test is in the morning when the concentration of hCG is higher in the urine and can show precise results. Drinking enough water and keeping yourself hydrated is of course the right thing for your body, but when you are about to take your pregnancy test during the day, too much water intake can dilute your urine, thus diluting the concentration of hCG and showing a faint positive line on the result.
- You have experienced a chemical pregnancy - A faint positive line in the first test and a negative in the second test can mean you had a chemical pregnancy. It is also the case, when you have a faint positive line at first and then get your period. A chemical pregnancy means a very early pregnancy loss, which occurs after fertilization and implantation, but the embryo is not able to grow to its fullest and results in bleeding along with your menstrual cycle. The sign of chemical pregnancy is a late period where the bleeding is heavier than normal. Only if you had taken the test too soon after conception, you might know you are at an early pregnancy stage. Most women who experience chemical pregnancy do not realize that they have conceived. There is nothing to worry about if you have had a chemical pregnancy because there are still high chances of conceiving again and giving birth to a healthy baby!
You had an ectopic pregnancy - The ectopic pregnancy means that the egg is fertilized outside the uterus, mostly along the fallopian tubes. The egg has to grow inside the uterus to develop into an embryo and eventually into a healthy baby, which is not the case with ectopic pregnancy. Though the home pregnancy test result may show a faint positive line, the symptoms develop over time and it is best to consult your OB/GYN at the earliest.
- You have certain medical conditions - The faint positive line at first and then a negative can also indicate you have ovarian cysts, rare cases of ovarian cancer where hCG tends to be at a higher level, UTIs, and kidney diseases. Although these are very rare conditions, it is always best to keep an eye out and be aware of your body.
- You are taking fertility medications - Sometimes taking hCG shots may manipulate your home pregnancy test results by showing false-positive or faint positive lines. Be sure to take a follow-up test if you are taking medications to become pregnant and confirm the pregnancy.
- You are in the menopause stage - Pregnancy in older women is common. If a woman in her menopause or perimenopause period misses her period and takes the pregnancy test, they might see a faint positive line, due to elevated levels of hormones. Again, it is a very rare occurrence, but older women might shrug away the thought of being pregnant and leave it unattended. Schedule an appointment with your doctor right away to check for the possibility.
If you get a faint positive line, make certain to take the home pregnancy test again after a few days to be sure of your pregnancy. If you get a positive sign again, see your doctor immediately to confirm the pregnancy via ultrasound. Almost in all cases, a faint positive line means positive, but can be too early to spread the good news. And as always, intake of nutritious food and maintaining a clean daily routine can keep you in the pink of your health throughout your pregnancy and the same applies for an expectant new mom!