Read The Instructions Completely
Sure, youve done this before, and you totally get the gist of it. Pee on the stick, wait a minute, and voila! Magical answers!
But hang on. Some pregnancy tests may have a variation or unique features to watch. For example, with most tests, you shouldnt tilt the front upwards as you pee, or even after, because that could mess up the results.
Reading the instructions carefully will help you to do the test correctly. They also often tell you how early you can take the test, how long to wait before trusting your result, and other important factors.
Negative Results For Pregnancy Test
There is a very small chance that you can still get a negative pregnancy test result even a week after your period is due because your body is producing low levels of the hCG hormone.
A negative pregnancy test
So, youve got a negative pregnancy test result. If youre hoping to have a baby, its a real letdown.
Does a negative pregnancy test mean that you are not pregnant? The answer is it depends. Maybe you did the test too early.
Trying to get pregnant is pretty exciting and, if youre anything like me, its absolutely impossible to wait a whole two weeks or more till your period is due before doing a pregnancy test, so youll go for the most sensitive test you can and try to find out as early as possible.
Its disappointing when you get a negative pregnancy test result but, if you did do the test more than a day or two before your period is due, theres often that question in the back of your mind maybe I am pregnant?
What do I do after having a negative pregnancy test?
Pregnancy tests are not the only signs that you are pregnant sometimes, negative pregnancy test or not, youll spot other early pregnancy symptoms, like extreme tiredness, swollen and tender breasts.
Unfortunately, these are sometimes pre-menstrual signs too so theyre not the most reliable indication.
If you are really hoping to be pregnant, its easy to mentally reject a negative pregnancy test result and convince yourself that you really ARE pregnant.
For more information see conception.
If You Have An Irregular Cycle
If you donât know when your period is going to come, and the difference between your longest cycle and shortest cycle is more than 7â9 daysââthat is, if the timing your period is highly variableâââthen unprotected sex or exposure of sperm on your genitals at most times represents a higher risk because itâs harder to estimate when you were exposed.
You can take a pregnancy test about two weeks after your last unprotected sexual encounter, though waiting a few days longer will help improve the accuracy of the results.
If you are using an active form of natural birth control or are tracking fertility signs for body literacy, you will have a better idea of your timing of ovulation and can use that to assess your risk of pregnancy.
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Why Would I Have A Negative Pregnancy Test But No Period
The most probable explanation for having a negative pregnancy test and no period is that you arent pregnant, and something else is delaying your period. Well discuss this possibility in the next section.
Its also possible that you got a false negative pregnancy test result. There are several reasons this can happen, which include :
- You are pregnant, but the pregnancy test cant detect the pregnancy hormones because the levels are too low or very high.
- You are pregnant, but a medical issue is causing a negative pregnancy test.
- You are pregnant, but the pregnancy test is defective.
How Home Pregnancy Tests Work
At-home pregnancy tests work by testing a small sample of urine for hCGhuman chorionic gonadotrophin. hCG is the pregnancy hormone that is produced by the developing embryo and, later, by part of the placenta.
Measuring the hCG via home pregnancy tests is qualitative, which explains why the results are a plain yes/no or negative/positive.
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You Are Pregnant But You Took The Test Too Early
Pregnancy tests work by detecting the pregnancy hormone hCG. If you are pretty sure you are pregnant because you’ve been experiencing some early pregnancy symptoms but have a negative test result, one of the most common reasons is that you have taken the pregnancy test too early, and your body has not produced enough hCG hormone for the test to detect it.
hCG can be detected in the urine only at a minimum of two weeks after conception occurs. For a 99% accurate test result, the test needs to detect at least 25 milli-international units per milliliter . In the first two weeks of pregnancy, only about 10 mlU/ml of hCG is present.
So, to get a reliable test result, wait two weeks after your period is missed. By this time, your body will be creating plenty of hCG, and your home pregnancy test will be far more accurate.
Rare Causes Of A False Negative
In rare cases, an ectopic pregnancy can cause a false-negative test result. An ectopic pregnancy is when the embryo implants somewhere other than the uterus. This usually occurs in the fallopian tubes, but it can also happen elsewhere.
An ectopic pregnancy does not develop properly and is not viable. The formation of the placenta is delayed which impedes the production of hCG. An ectopic pregnancy can be dangerous if it causes the fallopian tube to rupture.
Ectopic pregnancies are rare, occurring in around 1 in 40 pregnancies. However, they can be fatal. Around 9% of pregnancy-related deaths are caused by an ectopic pregnancy.
If your period is late and you are experiencing severe pain, call your provider right away or go to the emergency room.
Another rare cause of a false negative test is gestational trophoblastic disease , more commonly known as a molar pregnancy. GTD is a rare type of tumor that forms from a developing embryo. In less than 1 in 100 cases, a healthy baby can develop from a molar pregnancy. Usually, however, a molar pregnancy ends in miscarriage.
GTD causes extremely high levels of hCG. As mentioned above, elevated levels of hCG can throw off an at-home pregnancy test and give a negative result. While GTD is a tumor, its rarely cancerous. The treatment is usually having a D& C. If pregnancy hormone levels remain high, chemotherapy might be needed.
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Reasons For Late Periods
As a quick reference list, the following are the reasons for late periods:
These 15 reasons for a late period have only one reason for getting a positive pregnancy test. So if you get late period negative pregnancy test it is normal!
Only 1/15 cases of late-period give a positive pregnancy test. Pregnancy is the only reason for late period positive pregnancy test.
Rest all will give late period negative pregnancy test.
Late Period But Negative Pregnancy Test With White Discharge
Late period negative pregnancy test with white discharge hints that you may be pregnant. The pregnancy may be at a very early stage, so you are getting late period false negative pregnancy test.
Late period negative pregnancy test with spotting and cramping is also a sign that you can be pregnant. Wait for a week and then retake a pregnancy test.
Negative pregnancy test and missed perioddont always mean that you are pregnant. If you have late period negative pregnancy test with no symptoms then indeed you are not pregnant.
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You Didn’t Follow Instructions Correctly
Read the instructions on your home pregnancy tests package carefully so that you can administer the test properlythe test is only as good as your ability to follow the instructions! Since the tests are qualitative, this makes them sensitive to the process of testing.
Most home pregnancy tests ask you to hold a test strip in urine, and pee on it while on the toilet. Some make you dip the test strip in a clean cup where you have collected the urine .
These are the main reasons for a missed period and negative pregnancy test but there are others. Periods can be late for a number of reasons.
Reasons Why A Test Could Be Wrong
Here are a couple reasons why you may have received a false negative.
- Taken before the first missed period: Pregnancy tests work by detecting levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, hCG, a hormone that the body starts to make when an egg has been fertilized. Because the tests look for the presence of this hormone, it is possible that they miss the hormone in the very early stages of pregnancy, mainly in the days leading up to the first missed period. For the most accurate readings, its best to wait until at least the missed period, if not a few days after.
- Fluids diluting urine: Yes, you should still be drinking lots of water! But taking a pregnancy test later in the day can sometimes mean that urine is diluted and hCG is more difficult for the test to detect. The hormone levels are highest in the morning too, so for the most accurate results try to take the test as early in the day as possible, preferably right after you wake up.
- Test directions not followed correctly: We dont mean to suggest that you would miss a step . . . but could you have missed a step? Some tests require waiting a specific amount of time before reading the results. Pregnancy tests also have an expiration date, so we recommend buying new ones as opposed to using old ones that could be in your house.
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You Are Pregnant But Your Hormone Levels Are Low
Home pregnancy tests work by picking up on a pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin .
Levels of this hormone rise quickly in your body as soon as the egg implants into the wall of the uterus.
If youre testing quite early either before the first day of your missed period, or just a few days after the levels of hCG in your urine may not be high enough for a positive test result even if you are pregnant.
Some HPTs can detect the hCG hormone at very low levels but many of them are not so sensitive.
In addition, in very early pregnancy if you use a pregnancy test late in the day when youve already consumed lots of water or other fluids, the strength of the hormones in your urine will be diluted.
Thats why its best to use your first wee of the day for a pregnancy test.
This is one of the most common reasons for a negative test in early pregnancy. Wait a few days and then test again.
Heres a short video about Pregnancy Hormones you can look into:
At the beginning of a healthy pregnancy hCG levels double every day, so if you are pregnant it wont be long before a home pregnancy test can confirm it.
Youre Having A Molar Pregnancy
A molar pregnancy also called Gestational Trophoblastic Disease is a very rare pregnancy abnormality. It happens when there is an extra chromosome in the male sperm, or when the sperm fertilizes an empty egg.
You can read more about molar pregnancies here.
Its uncommon for an embryo to grow at the same time as a molar pregnancy and if there is an embryo, it is highly unlikely to develop into a surviving fetus.
As molar pregnancies dont typically cause a rise in the pregnancy hormone hCG, home pregnancy tests will not usually detect them.
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You Really Want To Be Pregnant
Your coffee tastes bad, you woke up with a headache, your stomach made a weird noise, you farted, you cried during a Tampax ad these must be early pregnancy symptoms, right? Eh, maybe.
Its called symptom-spotting and anyone whose ever Googled Am I pregnant? has done it and according to my analytics thats a lot ofpeople, me included. Unfortunately, theres nothing more convincing that youre pregnant than really, really wanting to be pregnant. Since were human, and no matter how many of the right foods we eat, exercises we try out or brisk walks we take, there will always be aches, pains, hiccups and waves of nausea and dizziness. This means that if youre looking for pregnancy symptoms, you can almost always find them even when youre not pregnant.
If youre timing that baby dance down to the hour, your mind could be playing tricks on you with each little twinge.
Diagnosis And Tests For A Late Period And Pregnancy
Home pregnancy tests check your urine for a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin that is only present when youre pregnant. The body starts making hCG at implantation, and many home pregnancy tests can detect hCG around the day of your expected period.
However, it is common to get a false negative in the first few days after a missed period. The amount of hCG in your body increases daily in early pregnancy. If you test too early, there might not be enough hCG for a positive test. Testing one week after a missed period is most likely to give you accurate results.
If youve had two home pregnancy tests come back negative and still think youre pregnant, check with your doctor. They can order a blood test that looks for the same hormone but can detect it earlier in the pregnancy. Blood tests can give accurate results as soon as 6 to 8 days after ovulation.
If your pregnancy tests come back negative, but you still havent had a period, talk to your doctor to determine what might be the cause and if any additional tests or treatment are needed. If youre trying to conceive, your doctor can perform additional tests or make other suggestions.
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You Are Pregnant But You Have Gestational Trophoblastic Disease
This is extremely rare. Gestational trophoblastic disease occurs when tumors form in the layer of cells called thetrophoblastthat normally surrounds an embryo. The most common form of GTD is called the hydatidiform mole, also known as a molar pregnancy.
These tumors are rarely cancerous, but the pregnancy usually ends in miscarriage because the embryo cannot form. Very rarely can a healthy baby emerge from a GTD pregnancy.
No Bleeding After Progesterone Challenge
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How Do Urine Pregnancy Tests Work
Pregnancy tests look for the pregnancy hormone hCG, which increases as a pregnancy progresses. The normal range for hCG levels in pregnant people can vary widely. It’s possible that your levels arent yet high enough to be detected .
An early pregnancy test might pick up very low amounts of hCG. However, its possible that you dont have enough circulating hCG to get a positive result even on a sensitive test.
This doesnt mean anything is wrong. How much hCG you have isn’t important rather, it’s how quickly your levels double and increase .
Another common reason for getting a false negative is not having enough hCG in the urine you test. In early pregnancy, you can dilute the hormone concentration in your urine if you drink a lot of water before testing.
This is more likely to happen in very early pregnancy when you take the test later in the day. The hCG concentration is higher when youve held your urine for a while, which is why it’s recommended that you take a pregnancy test in the morning.
Inconsistent Cycles And Amenorrhea
Pregnancy is not the only reason your period may be absent for a lengthy period. While most women experience menstruation on a reasonably regular timetable, irregular menstrual cycles are the norm for others. This makes it difficult to determine whether a period is genuinely late. You may also omit a period entirely .
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When Should I Call My Doctor About A New Pregnancy
If youve missed your period and gotten a positive pregnancy test, your next step will be to call your healthcare provider for your first appointment. While scheduling, your provider may ask if you have already started taking a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid. Prenatal vitamins are important in early pregnancy because they help in the development of your babys neural tube. The neural tube will become your babys brain and spine. Many healthcare providers recommend that anyone who could become pregnant take folic acid at all times.
If youre planning a pregnancy, a preconception appointment with your healthcare provider is a good place to start. A preconception appointment is especially important if you take medication for a chronic illness or have other medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure or lupus.
During this appointment, your provider will discuss any current medical conditions, as well as your general health before pregnancy. This appointment is meant to get you into the best place for a new pregnancy.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/26/2022.
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