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). hCG is the hormone that is created by the growing placenta soon after a fertilized egg has implanted in the uterine lining. Since hCG is present so early in a woman’s pregnancy, and continues to rise, it is one of the best indications of pregnancy.
Ultimately, the answer is yes, if you see a faint colored line on the pregnancy test, you are pregnant.
Types of Home Pregnancy Tests
There are three different formats of home pregnancy tests – midstream, pregnancy test strip and cassette.
All formats of test work well and are accurate. The only differences are the method of wetting the test with your urine and the cost of the tests.
Midstream tests require that urinate directly on them. Test strips and cassette tests require that you collect your urine in a clean dry container and then either dip the test or use a dropper to transfer the urine into the test.
When Should I Take a Pregnancy Test?
The best time of day to take a home pregnancy test is first thing in the morning as urine that has been collected overnight is concentrated with hCG. If you want to take the test later in the day, be sure to limit the liquids you drink so your hCG is as concentrated as possible.
Ultimately, the best time, during your cycle, to take a pregnancy test is when you have actually missed your period. Having said that, most women don’t want to wait. You can typically begin using a pregnancy test about 4 days before your period is due.
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.
If you are testing before your period is due, and you are getting negative results, it does not mean that you aren’t pregnant. It could just mean you are testing too early.
Positive Pregnancy Test Results
A positive result will typically show up between three and five minutes. However, the overall reaction time of most tests is five to ten minutes. You need to read the instructions that came with your pregnancy test to determine the actual time frame for reading it. Reading after the specified time in the instructions can lead to inaccurate results.
All home pregnancy tests will have a control color line that indicates whether the test is working or not. A second colored line will show up once hCG is detected. Even if there is a faint colored line on the test, it can still be read as a positive sign, although it is suggested that you retake the test within the next day or two.
Reasons for Faint Lines on Pregnancy Tests
Even though there are a number of different home pregnancy tests, they all operate on the same testing principle. As long as the instructions for taking the home pregnancy test are followed properly the test should 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 colored line will indicate pregnancy. If you are seeing a colorless line, you can’t interpret that as a positive result. It could be that you are seeing an evaporation line on your pregnancy test.
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.