I just KNEW I was pregnant. This wasn’t my first rodeo, as they say, and all the signs were there. I was exhausted all.the.time! My breasts were tender, and the real clincher, my period was late. So why did my home pregnancy test come up negative? I thought maybe it was a bad test, so I took another one…still only one line instead of two. Unconvinced, I bought a third pregnancy test the next day. This time, I got two lines, but one was really faint. Now what? Was I really pregnant? Was I just a little pregnant?
What I didn’t understand then was that many factors can affect whether a home pregnancy test shows no line, a very faint line, or a bright solid line when we really are pregnant. Just a few days after fertilization, a hormone called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is released into the mother’s blood by the newly formed embryo. This hCG eventually makes its way into her urine and that’s what is detected by home pregnancy tests. These tests are qualitative rather than quantitative, meaning they don’t measure how much hCG is in the urine but, rather, test whether it’s there at all. A pregnancy test is considered positive if a detectable amount of hCG is present, no matter how bold or faint the second line is. Some possible explanations for a faint positive include:
- Low hCG levels – This can happen if the pregnancy is very early, if the pregnancy is not viable, or if there has been an early pregnancy loss.
- Dilute urine – Staying hydrated is great, but if the urine is too diluted, the test might not be able to detect the hCG in it. It’s best to test first thing in the morning when urine is most concentrated.
- The test sat too long – Pregnancy tests all come with instructions describing the window of time in which it should be read. If the test sits for too long, the urine can evaporate, leaving a faint line even though the test is negative.
- Expired test or human error – Be sure to check the expiration date and read and follow all written instructions.
I finally went to my doctor and she confirmed that I was pregnant. So, was I “just a little pregnant” when I got the faint line on my home pregnancy test? Well, consider this…By the time I suspected I was pregnant and took that first test, my baby had already doubled in size, implanted in my uterus, formed heart, lung, brain, kidney, blood, and other organ tissues, and absorbed nutrients from me. She even had facial features and the beginnings of arms and legs. In fact, each one of her cells, from the moment of conception, contained all of her own unique DNA. So even though it wasn’t 100% obvious to me, I was 100% pregnant.
Whether you’ve taken a test at home or not, there are some very good reasons to confirm your results at a pregnancy resource center like Advice & Aid. Why should you?
- It’s free! In fact, all their services are free.
- It’s a medical-grade test performed by people who are trained to do it correctly.
- If there’s any doubt about the result or the timing of pregnancy, they can follow it up with an ultrasound to make sure, sometimes even the same day (yep, also free).
- It’s confidential
- They really care about you. Whether your result is welcome news or not, they can talk you through all your options with kindness and compassion.
Home tests can be hard to read sometimes. That’s why we provide medical-grade pregnancy tests here, along with a nurse, to help you not only get clear results, but to begin discussing your options and information.
The best part? It’s all at no financial cost to you.
Think you might be pregnant? Start with an easy-to-make appointment with us. No agenda . . . No judgment . . . Just helpful answers and options.
It’s the best first-step you can take!