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Faint line on pregnancy test

I Think I See A Second Line!

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.  If you are testing before your period is late, you may end up with a very faint second line on your test.

Ultimately, the answer is yes, if you see a faint colored line on the pregnancy test, you are pregnant.

On a pregnancy test, what if 1 line is very light and the other is very dark?


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 you followed the test instructions, 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 a pregnancy test too early can result in a very faint positive result. You will likely not have enough hCG in your urine if you test earlier than nine or ten days after ovulation.
  • Each brand of home pregnancy tests has differing levels of sensitivity in detecting hCG.  The more sensitive the pregnancy test is, the earlier you will see a positive result.
  • A urine sample that has been diluted as a result of large liquid intake can also cause a faint line. Testing with first morning urine avoids this issue. If you plan on testing later in the day,  try and avoid potty breaks 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 was followed by an early miscarriage.


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.   You 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.  The hCG in your urine will be more concentrated at that time. If you want to take the test later in the day, be sure to limit the liquids you drink before you test.  This will allow the hCG to be as concentrated as possible.  
If you are drinking a lot of liquids, you may dilute the level of hCG so it will not show up as a positive result.
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 important to remember that the accuracy of home pregnancy tests can vary between women for a number of reasons.

  • The length of a woman’s menstrual cycle and ovulation can change from month to month.
  • The day that the fertilized egg implanted may have been later that expected.  This would cause the hCG levels lower than expected when you test.
  • Every home pregnancy test will have a different hCG sensitivity level.    If you use a test that isn’t very sensitive, testing before your period is due may result in a false negative result.


If you get a negative pregnancy test result before your period is actually late, 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 carefully 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 when hCG is detected.     If the second line on your pregnancy test is very faintly  colored, it can still be read as a positive sign, although it is suggested that you retake the test within the next day or two.


Pictures of Faint Lines on Pregnancy Tests

Feel free to share your pictures of your pregnancy tests below. If you look through the comments, you will find many women who have experienced the same stress and confusion as you are. Sometimes, just knowing that there are others out there going through the same thing can make the journey less stressful.