False Positive Pregnancy Tests

Waiting for pregnancy test result

For women, who are actively trying to conceive, there is always an ounce of doubt when a positive appears on the pregnancy test. The initial excitement gets overshadowed by the doubt that, maybe, the positive pregnancy test is just a cruel joke and that maybe it’s really a false positive.

Rest assured, pregnancy tests, when used correctly, are almost always accurate. As long as you don’t test too early and as long as the test hasn’t expired, you can usually trust the result. If you’re going to have an unreliable result, it will almost always be a false negative, where the test just isn’t measuring your hCG levels accurately. Chances are, if you get a positive, you will be adding a new member to your family in about nine months.

However, on rare occasions, it is possible to have false positive pregnancy tests, as well.

What Could Cause A False Positive Pregnancy Test

Here are some of the possible causes of a false positive pregnancy test:

  • You’ve had a miscarriage or a pregnancy ended in the previous eight weeks. It can take that long for the hCG levels in your system to drop.
  • You are taking a fertility drug that contains hCG. These aren’t particularly common, but they are occasionally used.
  • You’re using an expired pregnancy test. Usually, a pregnancy test that’s passed its expiration will just not be able to register the hCG, and you’d have a false negative. However, depending on whether or not the test has been exposed to heat or moisture, there is a chance you might get a false positive pregnancy test.
  • You have certain medical conditions. There are some medical conditions that can cause your body to produce hCG even when you’re not pregnant.
  • You’ve had a chemical pregnancy. This happens when a fertilized egg implants in your uterus and your body produces hCG, but then the fertilized egg stops developing because of an abnormality or some other reason. The fertilized egg never becomes an embryo, but you may have enough hCG to test positive. It’s estimated that around a third of fertilized eggs may experience this.
  • You have an ectopic pregnancy. This means that the fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus. There is no way to move the fertilized egg into the uterus, and it will not correctly develop. An ectopic pregnancy can result in a false positive pregnancy test, although it does not always do so.


  • [email protected]

    I have got the positive in test tube but when i have taken pills to remove pregency no bleeding take place why it is so?

    • You need to ask your doctor about this.

  • lou

    I have possitive result at home but Next morning i got negative result

    • It could be that the level of hcg in your system is too low. Give it a couple of days and test again. That sound give the hcg time to increase to a better level for detection.

    • It could be that the level of hcg in your system is too low. Give it a couple of days and test again. That sound give the hcg time to increase to a better level for detection.

  • Danielle Mclain

    I just took a pregnancy test this morning with my first urine like it says. It came up pregnant 2-3 weeks. Now I’m only 3 days late with my period could this be a false reading due to hormones and maybe I am getting my period? I thought yesterday for sure I was getting it cuz I was getting some cramping.

    • Pregnancy is counted from the day of ovulation. By the time you are late, you are already 2 weeks pregnant. The timing on there is correct.

      • Danielle Mclain

        Thank u for responding

  • Golden1214

    I’ve taken about 8 pregnancy tests I had about 5 faint but visible positives and three negatives. What should I do?

    • When was your period due and were you testing at the same time each time you took the tests? Have you taken any more since you posted this?

      • Golden1214

        Yes ive taken about four more those were positive as well. But it took the tests to dry before the color line showed. I had two cycles last month. The 5th ( normal for me) and the 29th( not normal for me, very light was mostly brown)

        • The second time could have been early pregnancy bleeding and is pretty common. Just let your doctor know and so they can keep watch for any issues.

  • confused916

    hi..my period is delayed for going a month..i’ve used pregnancy test but the results is always negative..and had been bloodtest too but it came out negative…but i felt that I’m pregnant because of all the symptoms thus a pregnant women feel…what’s the next step i can do?i am so confused…:(

    • You are going to have to discuss this with your doctor. Maybe they can do some tests to find out what is going on with your body.

      • Mimi Green

        I had my period on 11th jan of this yr, n had sex on 20, 22, 23 n am going to do it again tomorrow 24 when do u think i shld check if am pregnant, am anxious, n my fiancé is too, do u think we had sex at the ryt time, pls let me hear frm u soon…thank u

        • If you have a normal 28 day cycle, you should be ovulating on the 25th of this month. Testing on February 5th or 6th might show a positive result if you are pregnant.

          • pipersister

            I ovulated on the 24th of December , I had sex on December 22,my period was due 15days later it came very very heavy, I didn’t bother taking a test because my period came,but I am having. Slight. Symptoms I’m very gassy everytime i eat anything followed by constipation,head ake sensitive to smells,could I be pregnant even though I got my period?

          • If you had a very heavy period, probably not but if you got pregnant in December, then a pregnancy test would show up positive now for you.

          • pipersister

            I have a regular 28day cycle I am 22 why is it so hard for me to get pregnant then I timed it and I still got my period his sperm Is great the doctor says,and I have signals of ovulation and try to have sex around that time and I’m getting no luck, I had some mucus discharge with a little brown streak I just don’t wanna see another negative test again and like I told ya period came on so didn’t want to waste money and be disappointed again

          • Are you taking ovulation tests to make sure you are ovulating when you think you are? If you are just guess about when you are ovulating, you could be missing the optimal time.

  • lovewhouwant

    Sorry to jump in, but I need help.. like fast… I’m only 18, and I’m a week and three days late…. I already took two at home tests and they came up negative, what do I do???

  • lynda

    Me and my husband have been tryin for a baby for 6 months. I am currently 7 days late and have taken 6 pregnancy test which have all come back negative. Its so upsetting, I don’t know what to do 🙁

    • If you are young, the doctors won’t want to do a workup on your fertility until you have been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for 12 months. If you are in your thirties, they may see you at the 6 month range. If you are sure you are having sex around when you are ovulating, then a doctor’s visit might be in order to find out what is going on.

      • Erica Hdz

        Vickie im confused if im pregnant or not. My last period was on january 03-08 (30dy cycle), Im never irregular or late unless im pregnant. Since i didnt get my period and still havent as of today, I took a pt (clear blue digital) on the 2nd mid morning and it showed PREGNANT. To be sure I took another pt clear blue digitital where it shows how many weeks or so, but this time it said NOT PREGNANT. Should I wait another week or so before retesting if no period yet?

        • Typically if you test early in the day and then again later in the day and get conflicting results, that means you are testing just a little early to get consistent results. Test again with first morning urine in a couple of days and you should get accurate results.

  • bridget

    I’ve had a pregnancy test n it shows negative but i menstrated for just 3 days last month n dis month but i normally menstrate for 4-5days n gets tired eaisly n my belly gets big .

    • You will need to talk to your doctor about this.

  • abigale

    I am confuse whether I am pregnant or not…. I have had sex….my period is 7 days late. I have taken two pregnancy tests and they were both negative…I don’t want to get pregnant.

    • If the tests are negative, the chances of you being pregnant are pretty small. If you are concerned, you can go to your doctor and ask for a blood test to see what that says.

  • amanda

    I am 2 months late I’ve taken 4 pregnancy test all negative and I’ve taken a blood test and still negative now what do I do

  • Lexis

    I had unprotected sex a day after my period my cycle is 29 days i want to know if i could have ended up pregnant i get cramps and nausea and dizziness and my breast hurt but i dont know if it is just symptoms of my regular period or sympoms of pregnancy

  • Nicole

    My period was nov 21st or 22nd, and I had sex december 6th. december 12th i took a test and it read positive. i then took 5 more within the next 4 days, all negative.. Am I testing too early? Why did I get positive the first time and all negative after? If I’m testing too soon, when should I test? I feel symptoms (I have 3 kids, so I have the feelings down pat) but still completely confused…

Last modified: January 24, 2015