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Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test

Pregnancy tests can sometimes be somewhat difficult to figure out. Using them is easy enough, of course. You just pee on the stick, or collect some of your urine and dip the test into it. However, interpreting the results can sometimes be challenging, depending on the particular brand you’re using. In some cases, you may even see only a faint line on a pregnancy test, which can be confusing even if the test is straightforward.

A faint line on a pregnancy test can mean a  number of different things. To understand them, you need to know how pregnancy tests work. Pregnancy tests look for the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Some tests are more sensitive than others, and the more sensitive your home pregnancy test is, the earlier in your pregnancy it will be able to show a positive. Most of the time, a home pregnancy test will show a positive by the time you should have started your period.

If you get only a faint line on a pregnancy test, it can mean that the test is measuring only a small amount of hCG. The key here is to pay attention to the sensitivity of the test. If it’s not a very sensitive test, you might get a faint line instead of a stronger line.

If you aren’t as far along as you thought you were, you may get a faint line on a pregnancy test. If you think this might be the case, you should wait a couple of days and then take another home pregnancy test. At that point, you should get a better and clearer result.

There are other possible causes for a faint line on a pregnancy tests. Some pregnancy tests may develop “evaporation lines,” where it looks like you have a result, but it’s really only condensation inside the test window.

A defective test, or one that’s passed its expiration date may also give you a faint line on a pregnancy test, even if you’re not pregnant. In most cases, the best way to proceed when you have a faint line on a pregnancy test is to retest again after two or three days, and use that result.

We are proud to offer a wide variety of high-quality, affordable pregnancy tests.


Last modified: October 5, 2013


The information provided here should not be considered medical advice. It is based on the average experience of women trying to conceive and may not be what you may be experiencing. It's not meant to be a replacement for any advice you may receive from your doctor. If you have any concerns about your cycle or our ability to get pregnant, we advise you to contact your doctor.