I See A Faint Line On My Home Pregnancy Test, Am I Pregnant?
Home pregnancy tests use a sample of a woman’s urine in order to detect the ‘pregnancy hormone’ – Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) which is a glycoprotein hormone discharged by the growing placenta soon after a fertilized egg has implanted in the uterine lining. Since hCG manifests itself so early in a woman’s pregnancy, and continues to rise, it is one of the best detectors of pregnancy early on.
Types of home pregnancy tests
According to Wed MD, there are two types of home pregnancy tests. The most commonly used home pregnancy test is often referred to as a midstream test and is used by holding the test stick in your urine stream. The other type of home pregnancy test is a dip test and is used by filling a small, dry container with urine and holding the test stick in the urine for a few seconds. Regardless of the home pregnancy test you use, both are equally reliable with one end of the test strip or dipstick changing color if hCG is present, thereby confirming pregnancy.
The color change of a home pregnancy test will usually occur within three to five minutes. However, the overall reaction time of most tests is five to ten minutes. After ten minutes, any result should be disregarded, as some tests can develop an evaporation line.
All home pregnancy tests will have a control color line that indicates whether the test is working or not. A second color line will show up once hCG is detected. Even if there is a faint line on the test, it can still be read as a positive sign, although it is suggested that you re-take the test within the next day or two.
When To Take a Home Pregnancy Test?
The best time to take a home pregnancy test is first thing in the morning as urine that has been collected overnight is concentrated with hCG. It is however, important to remember that the accuracy of home pregnancy tests can vary between different women for a number of reasons, including the following:
- The length of a woman’s menstrual cycle and ovulation can change from month to month.
- The precise day that the fertilized egg was implanted may not always be known.
- Every home pregnancy test will have a different hCG sensitivity level. If there are extremely low levels of hCG present then it is more likely to come across as positive first thing in the morning. Even though there are home pregnancy tests that are sensitive enough to detect pregnancy on the first day of a missed period, it is generally better to wait for about a week after a missed period before administering a home pregnancy test.
Faint Lines in Home Pregnancy Tests
Even though there are a number of different home pregnancy tests, they all operate on the same testing principle. Subsequently, as long as the instructions for taking the home pregnancy test are followed properly the test will be accurate.
However, there may be times when a home pregnancy test will show a faint line. As long as the instructions have been followed clearly, a faint line will indicate pregnancy.
There are multiple reasons for faint lines:
- Taking the test less than eight to ten days after conception, can show a faint line as there may not be enough hCG in the body.
- Each brand of home pregnancy tests have differing levels of sensitivity in detecting hCG. If your test has a sensitivity level of 20 MIU, it may display a faint line when hCG levels are at 20 MIU, while less sensitive tests will actually present a negative result. If there is at least 50 MIU of hCG in your body, then a 20 MIU home pregnancy test will exhibit a darker color line, while a 50 MIU test will instead show a faint line.
- A urine sample that has been diluted as a result of large liquid intake can also cause a faint line. This is another reason why it is better to test with first morning urine, or at least hold your urine for three to four hours before testing.
- A chemical pregnancy can also create a faint line. In this situation, implantation has occurred and hCG has therefore been produced. Nevertheless, the pregnancy itself is not viable and will be followed by miscarriage.