While false optimistic pregnancy test results are rare, they carry out happen. Find out the potential causes and what to do when you gain a false positive.Olena Zalevska/Getty Images
No matter what, acquisition a pregnancy test have the right to be an emotional roller coaster. Once it pertains to getting a false hopeful pregnancy check result, the experience can be deep upsetting, specifically for anyone who has had a challenging time gaining pregnant or is actively hoping to obtain pregnant (or both). The hope the comes with seeing that optimistic sign crashing down as you realize it was a false optimistic pregnancy test? It's a uniquely disastrous emotion. 

Of course, acquiring a false positive pregnancy test as soon as you’re proactively trying not to get pregnant can be just as horrible. Yup, you could probably execute without the panicked verification trip to the ob-gyn, just to find out there was nothing to stress and anxiety over. 

Thankfully, experts note that false optimistic pregnancy tests are rare. Unfortunately, though, they can happen. Here are some of the many common reasons of a false confident pregnancy test, together with some additional information that can assist you placed it all right into context.

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What is a pregnancy test? | just how pregnancy tests occupational | False positive pregnancy test reasons | Next steps after a false positive pregnancy test 

Let's start with the pure basics simply to make certain we're every on the exact same page. A pregnant test tells you if you’re pregnant or not. That's straightforward enough to understand. But it's understandable if you're a tiny fuzzy ~ above the details that what these tools actually look for to identify a pregnancy.

At-home pregnancy tests check for the hormone hCG. HCG is short for human being chorionic gonadotropin, i m sorry the human body creates during pregnancy. Ideal after a fertilized egg attaches come the uterine lining, the placenta climate forms and starts producing hCG1. A blood test can detect hCG around nine work after conception, and a to pee test deserve to detect it 12 come 14 days after conception, according to the Cleveland Clinic, although the varies—some particularly sensitive to pee tests can detect a pregnancy even earlier. A who hCG level typically doubles every 72 hrs through 8 come 11 main of pregnancy. Then it stays consistent and also starts to go under after delivery.Back to top.

An at-home pregnancy test is designed to discover hCG in pee2. If the hormone is present, the triggers a chemistry reaction and also the test signals the you're pregnant. If hCG is not present, the test will certainly say you aren't pregnant. Countless tests use 2 lines to average you’re pregnant and also one heat to mean you’re not—but it relies on the check brand. Part tests usage plus and also minus signs. Part digital pregnant tests have a display screen that plainly reads "pregnant" or "not pregnant." Which have the right to save you some “Is that one heat or two?!” squinting, at least.

Seems simple, right? together Ina Garten would say, "How straightforward is that?" Typically, nice easy. Most at-home pregnant tests insurance claim to be around 99% accurate3. Ultrasounds frequently can't detect a pregnancy till a small later in her pregnancy and that's why at-home tests are so useful. But, sometimes, other aspects can mess with a pregnant test's results and tell you you’re pregnant when you’re yes, really not. 

If you take a traditional pregnancy test v line indicators, it's vital to examine the results according come the particular instruction the the test. If you let that sit also long prior to reading the results, to pee on the test deserve to evaporate and make the look choose you have actually two lines instead of simply one. "Oftentimes human being will view evaporation lines together urine starts to evaporate turn off the test," Jamil Abdur-Rahman, M.D., board-certified ob-gyn, tells znjke.com. The might reason the check to look like it has actually a faint second line—making it positive—but it yes, really only has actually one.

The best way to protect against this: check out the pregnancy test's directions and also follow lock exactly. The popular pregnancy test brand an initial Response, for example, instructs customers to wait 3 minutes after acquisition the test, then review it as shortly as possible4.

The second most usual reason Dr. Abdur-Rahman's patients obtain false positives is because the test is expired, the says. As soon as a test is past its expiration date, the chemical the detects hCG doesn't always work together it should, and also you’re an ext likely to acquire a misread. "The test can expire and the possibility of having a false optimistic increases," Dr. Abdur-Rahman says.

If you take it a pregnancy test too soon after acquisition a fertility medicine that contains hCG—like some injections that room often part of in vitro fertilization—you might get a false positive.

" women who are really motivated and also trying to conceive, and they will frequently do the pregnant test early and also see a positive result, i beg your pardon is obviously an extremely exciting for them initially," Zev Williams, M.D., combine professor the Obstetrics and Gynecology and chief of the department of Reproductive Endocrinology and also Infertility at Columbia university Irving medical Center, speak znjke.com. "But the just might be the result of the fertility medication that they took. It's something we caution patients around so they don’t get false hope as soon as they check out that check is positive."

Most miscarriages take place in the an initial 13 weeks of pregnancy5. And, back there space no genuine statistics, it’s estimated that countless miscarriages occur before a person even knows they're pregnant.After you provide birth or miscarry, hCG deserve to persist in your body because that months, Dr. Williams says. One study published in The newspaper of Clinical Endocrinology and also Metabolism estimates that it takes 4 to 6 weeks for hCG level to return to normal after ~ a person has a miscarriage6. This is since some of the placenta deserve to remain in the body, and it can continue to produce hCG for a short duration of time. "As long as there room viable cultivation placenta cells, those tests can be positive," Dr. Williams says.

An ectopic pregnancy happens as soon as a fertilized egg ends up farming outside the uterus—usually in a fallopian tube—instead of within the uterus7. Yet it's worth understanding that one ectopic pregnant can also happen in various other reproductive locations like the ovary or cervix. An ectopic pregnancy isn’t viable since the embryo isn’t inside the uterus where it deserve to grow and thrive. However the embryo will still develop hCG, which can lead to a hopeful pregnancy test, even though the pregnancy isn't viable. And even after treatment for your ectopic pregnant (which can encompass medication or surgery), you may see a false positive pregnancy test result because the takes some time for the hCG levels to go down. 

An ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening8. Contact your medical professional right away if you experience any kind of of the complying with symptoms:

Severe pain in your abdomen or pelvis if pregnantSevere dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintingShoulder painAn urge to poopAny various other symptoms that space making you feeling worried

We're putting this factor last because it's not technically a reason behind a false positive pregnancy test, however it's still precious covering because many people confuse it v one. You could get your duration a few days after ~ a confident pregnancy test and also assume you had actually a false hopeful result. However, it might be that you to be pregnant however miscarried very early on. “It’s no that the test is wrong—it was fully accurate at choose up the hormone ," Dr. Williams says. "Unfortunately, this wasn’t a healthy pregnancy." medical professionals refer come this at an early stage pregnancy loss together a chemical pregnancy.

A chemical pregnant occurs as soon as a pregnancy is shed shortly after implantation. People who have actually a chemical pregnancy regularly experience bleeding (when they miscarry) right around the time of their meant period, i beg your pardon is why it’s straightforward to assume you just had a false optimistic test result.

While most pregnancy test outcomes are accurate, it can be tough to understand right far if you’re dealing with a false hopeful pregnancy test result. That's why your next step need to be to contact your ob-gyn to watch if it makes sense to come in for confirmation, based on how lengthy it's been because your last period. They deserve to perform testing to verify the pregnancy and also see how everything is looking. Dr. Abdur-Rahman states he views at-home pregnant tests much more as "screening tests"—a blood test is a diagnostic check that have the right to actually confirm you're pregnant. If a blood test confirms you're pregnant but you're experiencing any symptoms such as bleeding or pain, her ob-gyn can continue to monitor hCG levels in her blood come make sure the pregnancy is arising properly prior to an ultrasound deserve to reveal an ext details. 

And if you get a an adverse pregnancy test, recognize that a false negative is sometimes possible too. If you take it an at-home pregnancy test also early, it might not pick up the hCG hormone. But, together we described above, those hormone should dual every 72 hrs with a healthy pregnancy. "The longer you wait, the more likely you are to finding the pregnancy,” Dr. Williams says. He proposal taking one more pregnancy test 2 days later on to double-check. (And in the case of one of two people a optimistic or an adverse pregnancy check result, if your goal is to get pregnant or have actually a infant anytime soon, for healthy and balanced fetal breakthrough it's a great idea to begin taking prenatal vitamins with folic mountain if friend haven't done so already!)

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6. The journal of Clinical Endocrinology and also Metabolism, Hypothesis: Persistently Elevated hCG reasons Gestational Ovarian Overstimulation linked With an extensive Postpartum Hyperandrogenism in mother of Aromatase-Deficient Babies

7. Mayo Clinic, Ectopic Pregnancy

8. Mei Clinic, Ectopic Pregnancy



Korin is a former brand-new Yorker who currently lives at the beach. She obtained a twin B.A. In international Relations and Marketing native The college of william & mar (which she doesn't usage at all now) and also an M.A. In interaction Journalism native American University. Korin has been published in... Read more
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