How Common Is A False Negative Pregnancy Test And What Causes It?
Home Pregnancy Tests
Home pregnancy tests are one of the most common methods used to determine pregnancy. They work by measuring the amount of Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) present in the woman’s urine. When detected, hCG is a reliable indicator indicating that you are pregnant. With most standard home pregnancy tests, it is recommended that you wait until you have missed a period so that your results will be more accurate. If you are unable to wait for that to happen or need to know sooner, you may perform the test at around 12 days after the time you believe you may have conceived. Most commercially available tests have around a 97% accuracy, provided the instructions are followed correctly and the results are read in a timely manner. Many pregnancy test kits contain at least two pregnancy tests so can test again if you are unsure of the result or just want to see the positive result again.
False Negative Pregnancy Tests and the Most Common Causes
A false negative test indicates that you are NOT pregnant when, in fact, you are. This can lead to quite a bit of confusion and anxiety. To avoid this error, you must be aware of the possible causes for this result.
1. Early Detection Attempt
Perhaps the most common reason for a false negative reading is taking the test too early. Because many pregnancy tests have varying levels of sensitivity for hCG, there has to be a certain level of the hormone present in the urine before it can be detected. In other words, fertilization may have occurred with a resulting pregnancy, but there is not yet enough hCG hormone present in the body for the test to measure it correctly. The hormone levels start to rise more dramatically near the time of what might have been the start of your period, which is why this is the recommended time frame for performing these tests.
2. Faulty Technique
It is possible that there was a technical reason for a false negative. Many tests have specific instructions on how to use the indicator. The tests also require a certain amount of urine to provide the most accurate result. If there was not enough urine present to properly conduct the test or if you did not hold the test strip long enough in the stream, you may receive a false negative. It is very important to follow the method outlined in the instructions, since the test was designed to be most reliable when used as directed.
3. Missed Reaction Time
Home pregnancy tests give an interval of time in which to read the test results once the sample has been given. Results read too early or too long after the recommended time may be invalid and lead to a false negative. There is often a certain amount of anxiety and/or anticipation present when performing this test. It may help to have a timer available to avoid “jumping the gun” or waiting too long to read the results.
A negative result on a home pregnancy test COULD mean that you are not pregnant, that the test was performed too early, or that there was a problem with the technique or timing. If you suspect that you are pregnant and that you received a false negative, wait for a few days and re-attempt the test. If you obtain different results with other home pregnancy tests, it is highly recommended that you contact a health care professional and have more specific tests done to get a definite answer.