Pregnancy Test Line Very Light and Not Getting Darker: What's Happening?
It can be frustrating to wait for the results of a pregnancy test, only to have a faint line (or lines) appear. What does it mean when they're so faint and don't get darker? Are you, or are you not, pregnant?
Chances are, even if you have a faint positive result on your test, you're pregnant! It all depends on how early you took the test and how much HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is in your system at the time you took the test.
Read on to learn how pregnancy tests work, how to read the pregnancy test, and what the faint lines mean.
How Home Pregnancy Tests Work
Home pregnancy tests are usually fairly accurate when it comes to predicting pregnancy. It's important, though, to know how they work and how to interpret the results.
The first thing to know is that the first morning's urine works best. Home tests use your urine to determine how much of the hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is in your system. This hormone starts entering your system around 6-12 days after conception, when the ball of cells known as the blastocyst has implanted itself on your uterine wall. The hormone is most concentrated in the morning.
Does that mean that 6-12 days after conception (if you even know exactly when that occurred), you should take a home pregnancy test (HPT)? Well, not exactly. At that point in your cycle, assuming you have a regular 28 day menstrual cycle, you'd still be about a week away from your next expected period, and there probably isn't enough hCG in your system yet to be read on a home pregnancy test.
Not all pregnancy tests react the same way to the amount of HCG in your urine, of course. It all depends on how many milli-international units per liter (mIU/L) of hCG the test can read. Some tests claim to be able to detect pregnancy really early (but only about 60% of the time) while others are best to take after you have missed your period. A test that can pick up only 15-20 mIU/L of hCG would be more sensitive and perhaps able to determine pregnancy sooner than a test that is only sensitive to 30-50 mIU/L. That means that the early results tests (the more expensive ones) may be able to tell you if you're pregnant sooner than waiting for your next period to be missed, but there's no guarantee.
If you're willing to try one (or two), go ahead and buy more than one. However, you may be disappointed to see a negative result only to have to buy more pregnancy tests a week or so later after you've missed your period. As I said, those kinds of tests are usually only accurate 60% of the time.
My recommendation is to always wait until you have missed your period before going out and buying a home pregnancy test. You'll have greater chance (more like 80-90%) of seeing an accurate result after a missed period. For an even greater chance, wait about a week after your missed period, when the HCG is really in full effect in your system and you can get a really accurate result.
Wait until you have missed a period before using a home pregnancy test. You'll get a more accurate result.
Home Pregnancy Test
How many home pregnancy tests have you taken so far?
Pregnancy Test Lines
Faint Positive Pregnancy Test
Faint Positive Line on Pregnancy Test
Faint Line on Pregnancy Test
You might see a faint line (or lines) on the home pregnancy test after you have waited (and waited) for the results. Chances are, even with a faint positive line, you are pregnant. Those lines are designed to show HCG in your urine and if you have any, a line will appear indicating pregnancy.
Most tests will show two lines. The first is to indicate that the test is indeed working and the second is to indicate pregnancy. Normally, the first line will be dark and clear to read. It's the second line that could be a little faint. If you read the directions for the test, they will tell you that the second line may appear lighter than the first, but even so it still indicates a pregnancy.
Why is the second line faint? You may have just enough HCG in your urine to be detected, as it may be very, very early in your pregnancy, or you took it later in the day when the hCG isn't as concentrated in your urine. If you wait a few days or even a week, the line may appear darker (or it may even appear the same!).
If you're still not sure (or can't believe) if you are pregnant, you can contact your health care provider to have a blood test. A blood test works in the same way as the urine test except that it is able to detect smaller amounts of HCG.
Very, Very Faint Line
If this is the case, it may be way too early for the test to determine pregnancy. You just don't have enough hCG in your system to be detected. The result could also be negative. Wait until you have missed your period, or even a few days more, and take another test. If you cannot get a positive reading even though you have missed your period, contact your health care provider to ask about a blood test. Ask about possible reasons why your period hasn't arrived.
Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test
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A Positive Result
Bottom line, if there are two lines, no matter how faint the second one is, you're pregnant! If you still need to know for sure, contact your health care provider to ask for a blood test.
Usually, about a week or so after you see your positive pregnancy test result, you'll start experiencing some of the common pregnancy symptoms, and then, you'll know you are pregnant. Until you know for sure, act as if you are pregnant. Take prenatal vitamins, eat a healthy diet, exercise when you can, and avoid anything you shouldn't be exposed to during pregnancy.
Best of luck to you!