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Faint Line on my Home Pregnancy Test: Am I Pregnant?

on Jan 26, 2013

by Dr. Prabha Sahgal, MD

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Faint Line on my Home Pregnancy Test: Am I Pregnant?

Am I pregnant or not? Here is a list of the most common cases of when a faint line on your home pregnancy test is actually not a positive result.

I am sure there are many women among our readers who have found themselves unable to decide what a faint line means on a home pregnancy test. I can assure you, there are many other women out there who find it similarly difficult to decipher the meaning of the faint line. The answer, however, is quite simple. If you see a faint line, that is a line, regardless of the saturation. When it comes to home pregnancy tests, as a rule of thumb, lines are absolute; they indicate a positive result. However, there are a few special scenarios that are an exception to this rule and we will be taking a look at each one of them in a short while. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

Further below I compiled a list of the most common cases of when a faint line is actually not a positive result. However, before we dive into the possible causes of a false-positive test, let us take a look at how a home pregnancy test actually works. This will help us understand everything that can go south with it.

How pregnancy test works

Home pregnancy tests usually come in two forms: dip tests and instream tests. In case of a dip test, you are provided a clean urinal container into which the test strip is dipped, while midstream tests require you to hold the test strip in your stream of urine. There are two lines that can be visible on the display. A control line (C) that is always visible and it means that the test strip works properly, and a test line (T) that is only visible if the test result is positive. Both methods indicate pregnancy by capturing the hCG concentration level in the urine. hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin) is a hormone that enters our system 6 to 12 days after conception and for the following weeks its volume doubles every two or three days. The more hCG the urine contains, the darker the test line will be.

Now, let’s take a look at the cases when the faint test line can actually indicate a negative test result:

Not following instructions

The most common reason for getting wrong home pregnancy test results is failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. In order to avoid wrong results, the most important thing is to read and follow the instructions carefully. For example a very important thing to keep in mind is, that most tests have a reaction time, generally 5-10 minutes. For a verified negative result the test should be read within the reaction time period mentioned in the manufacturer’s instructions. The instruction should also mention a time period, usually 10 minutes, after which the test result is unreliable. This is due to the fact that after some time the urine starts to evaporate and an evaporation line will slowly develop on the display which can be easily misinterpreted as the test line. One thing to help distinguish a test line from an evaporation line is the color of the line: while test lines are usually pink, the evaporation line has no color, it looks like a shadow.

The right time during the ovulation cycle

Timing the test is also very important. You must wait at least ten days after ovulation, but it’s safest to wait until after the first missed period. As mentioned before, it takes time for the hCG hormone to accumulate in your system, and the less sensitive the test is, the more hCG it takes for the test line to show up. You might want to try a period tracker calendar, or some kind of chart to always have the necessary data available to you.

Sensitivity level of the test

The sensitivity level of home pregnancy tests varies from product to product, but as a general rule of thumb, the more expensive the test, the more sensitive it is. The sensitivity level is expressed in mIU (milli-international units), and can generally range anywhere between 20mIU and 100mIU. So depending on the sensitivity level of the product, you may have to wait a little longer before you take the pregnancy test.

The right time of day for testing

Although not a requirement anymore, it is considered best practice to take the test with the first morning urine to avoid a diluted urine specimen. hCG concentration is highest in the morning, so it is less likely to give faint results.

Chemical pregnancy result

There is also a 20-30% chance per conception for a chemical pregnancy (early miscarriage), which means that despite the initial hCG presence in your body, a miscarriage occurred. In this case, you are not technically pregnant.

hCG medication interference

Taking medications containing hCG can also cause a faint test line as the test is determined by hCG levels. If you are taking medications that has the hormone in them it can give a false positive.

Test again

If none of the above explains the faint test line you got, then you may want to take the test a second time a few days after the first one just to make sure. If the first result was positive, then the test line should become bold a few days later due to the exponential hCG production pattern. If you you are still unsure about your results, you may want to contact your health care provider and ask for professional advice and maybe a blood test.

The bottom line

As you can see, in most cases a line, no matter how faint, or how bold, indicates pregnancy. Of course if you follow the advice above, you can double-check the results, but a health-care specialist will also be more than happy to assist you. But the buttom line is, chances are, a bundle of joy is coming your way, so take very good care of your health!

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Faint Line on my Home Pregnancy Test: Am I Pregnant?, 3.7 out of 5 based on 9 ratings

Dr. Prabha Sahgal MD, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and subspecialty board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Dr. Sahgal holds a B.S. degree from MIT in molecular biology and currently serves on the ConceiveEasy board of directors.

Related posts:

  1. Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test
  2. When Can I Take A Pregnancy Test after Trying to Conceive?
  3. How to Read a Pregnancy Test: 3 Best Tips
  4. Are Home Pregnancy Tests Accurate?
  5. Home Pregnancy Tests Reliable as Blood Pregnancy Tests?
ask
  • parveen

    hi, i m 30years old n 2 years has been my marriage. i have been a ectopic patient last year so i have loss my left tube then last 2-3 month i have to try to conceive a baby but no result. in this month i have to try bast days my last menstrual date is 10-04-2015 and i have check by home kit on 04th may only show one (c) line is visible but faded. i want to ask you i m pregnant or not?

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  • nayri contreras

    I have got 4 pregnancy test the same brand positive and 5 other brand negative what should I believe?
    Aj

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  • Ssss

    hi! I took pregnancy test twice the first I did last night shows negative,the second one I did this morning shows positive but the other line was faint..Am I pregnant?

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  • Jay gorman

    I used a condom during sex as far as I know it wasnt burst or nor any holes she hasn’t missed her period but took a pregnancy test and came out positive she only took one test please help

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  • leanne

    Hi I stopped tacking my pill maybe 2 to 3 mth ago I’ve had 2 periods and a week later on my last one I was losing brown discharge for a week and my nipples are very sore and yesturday I wash my self and a little bit off discharge from my nipples does this mean im pregnant

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  • Vanessa Tang

    I gave birth four months ago not breastfeeding for my first kid, I got my period eight weeks after given birth.. I had my period on Aug and sep on time.. hut last month my period didn’t came.. I waited one week to do pregnancy test, and the pregnancy test showed positive with fade line… can I be pregnant again??

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  • temika

    I have done a pregnancy test and one line really dark and the other is very light witch looks to be white but can see it there

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  • Kayla

    What does it mean if a pregnancy test has a dark purple line and a light pink line but the lines are only on the Control line. But I took the second one and it came up with one line one the c could I be pregnant or not

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  • Kayla

    Does any one no if I could be pregnant

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  • Adefowora Nikkysoft

    I just had miscarriage, a month and 8days now, I did pregnancy test and d result says weaky positive. I did home pregnancy test today,is showing faint line. Pls am so confused

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  • Lisa

    I have a question… I’m about 5-7 days from my start of my period and I took a test…. Well a faint line showed up! I’ve taken another one and the line is fainter. My question is because I’m still so early, would my hormones still not be “enough” to show or could it be a chemical pregnancy?

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  • Megha

    Ii have to test about the pregnency. Its shows result on a C window with dark pinkish line means i m not pregnent. But after manustrual cycle on 9th day i have to checkout so is that possible result is accurate or not??

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  • andrea

    i just wonder has anyone noticed a pattern in miscarriages and faint line on pregnancy test?? my test with my 1st pregnancy was dark then i had two miscarriages and both tests were faint now pregnant again the test was dark line think this means anything

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  • Becca Stone

    I took a test and one line of the plus sign was faint I took another a week later and one line of the plus sign was bolder than the first but the cross line still faint

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  • Tasha

    I took 5 test my first one had a faint line and the rest came out negative…. Could I be pregnant ?

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  • Nigel

    I took a test two days ago 1st one showed faint line second one was negative now i have bleeding whats going on.

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  • Lerushca

    I did a test but the second line appeared white,what does it mean?

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  • April Perryman

    I’ve been taking conceive easy for a couple weeks now! And I think I’m pregnant! I am supposed to start my period tomorrow Saturday 12th! But I took a test to find out five days before your missed peroid and I’ve took three tests two yesterday and one today! But there all faint!! I also want to know since I’m not for sure should I keep taking the pills? I made an appointment monday!

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  • Anai Ocampo

    I took three pregnancy test all positive with faint lines. I went to the clinic said i wasnt pregnant. I’m testing 3 days before my period?

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  • Alma

    I’m so confused. I don’t know if I am or I am not pregnant, some people say no matter how faint it is if you see the line you’re pregnant and I definitely see it. I just don’t want to rise up my hopes to much…

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  • Shikhs

    Hello…i got my last period on 6 may..aftr dt on 16 may i saw brown spotting till 25 may..i was worried so i consulted my doc..she suggest me to do pregnancy test..on d first day i got light pink line and on second day morning i got dark line and d same day in eve i got light line…so i just wanted to noe ..m i pregnant or not..plz help ..i m really stressed

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