Whether or not you’ve been trying to fall pregnant, when you think you are and the pee stick disagrees it can be baffling. But if you are experiencing symptoms pointing you to the pregnancy conclusion, don’t dismiss your instincts too soon.
While home pregnancy tests have an extremely high rate of accuracy, they are not without their limitations.
Here are some reasons why a negative pregnancy test doesn’t always mean you aren’t pregnant.
You have taken the test too soon
Most home pregnancy tests look for the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in a sample of your urine. Health Direct explains this HCG hormone “is usually present only when a woman is pregnant” as it is produced after a fertilised egg implants in the womb.
The presence of HCG in your urine can be detected around the time of your first missed period so if you have tested before this time and received a negative result, it could be because you have tested too soon.
For some women it can take up to seven days after their first missed period to build up enough HCG to be detected in their urine.
You haven’t taken the test correctly
Whether you are excited, nervous or both while taking the test, sometimes that eagerness or anxiety can cause you to miss a step or neglect to follow the test instructions properly. Better Health says sometimes a woman may be pregnant but the test reads otherwise because they have not timed the test right or have incorrectly used it.
Your urine is too diluted
Another reason you may get a false negative result from a home pregnancy test is if you have had a lot of water or other drinks. Better Health reports drinking lots of fluids before testing can dilute the urine sample so much the HCG becomes undetectable.
The test kit you used was faulty
While not common, it is also possible the home pregnancy test kit you used is faulty for some reason.
What is the next step?
If the first home pregnancy test is negative but you are convinced you are pregnant or believe there could be a chance, you can try taking another test with the above points in mind. If the result is still negative, you should speak to a doctor who can perform a blood test.
Any woman experiencing what they consider pregnancy-like symptoms such as tender breasts, nausea, fatigue, and a missed or changed menstrual cycle should see a medical professional regardless to rule out other possible causes.