Pregnancy Test Line Very Light and Not Getting Darker: What's Happening?

Updated on May 3, 2016
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Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.

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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.

My Recommendation:

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?

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Pregnancy Test Lines

Two clear lines: if only it were always this easy to read the test.
Two clear lines: if only it were always this easy to read the test. | Source

Faint Positive Pregnancy Test

Home pregnancy tests vary in design and can show faint positive results.
Home pregnancy tests vary in design and can show faint positive results. | Source

Faint Positive Line on Pregnancy Test

In this home pregnancy test, the test line is darker than the positive line, but it still means there's a pregnancy.
In this home pregnancy test, the test line is darker than the positive line, but it still means there's a pregnancy. | Source

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!

Questions & Answers

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      Marissa 6 days ago from United States

      Zakia, my sincere apologies!! I suggest speaking with your doctor about it.

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      Marissa 6 days ago from United States

      Zakia best wishes!

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      Marissa 6 days ago from United States

      Please see my reply to your question.

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      Zakia 6 days ago

      I have bleeding today. This is an early pregnancy miscarriage. Tottaly looses hopes, please suggest wheather I can try this month again or should wait..

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      Zakia qamar 7 days ago

      Hi I test again this morning, all two comes negative still no period. I visited lab for Beta hcg Ang hoping a miracle..

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      Shelly 7 days ago

      I can do iui on 23rd jan my doctor recommended beta hcg on 6feb. But result show14.6mlU/ml and then I test at home my home preagnancy test show one light line what does it mean

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      Marissa 8 days ago from United States

      Zakia, it might still be early and you might not have enough HCG in your system yet.

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      Marissa 8 days ago from United States

      Tytianna, if two lines appeared within the 10 minutes, then it means pregnancy usually.

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      Zakia qamar 8 days ago

      Hi Mari, I missed my period on 6 Feb I take three tests which all comes positive but we're very very faint suggests me what's the reason? I beared a ectopic pregnancy before and a blighted ovum too.

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      Tytianna 9 days ago

      I took a pregnancy test and it had a red line then it had a faint line what does it mean.

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      Marissa 9 days ago from United States

      Hi ., if both lines showed up within the first 10 minutes after you took a test, then you may be pregnant. I suggest waiting another day or so and testing again.

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      11 days ago

      Hi i need help im a teen in took a test in the frist line was really really light in other line was really dark in. Im so scared help me

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      Marissa 2 weeks ago from United States

      Ainsley, I think you should go see your doctor.

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      Marissa 2 weeks ago from United States

      Prasanna, if you took them within the same time, it's possible that you just had less HCG than when you took the first test.

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      Marissa 2 weeks ago from United States

      Jitender, it may still be too early or there's no pregnancy.

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      Marissa 2 weeks ago from United States

      Cynthia, after the first 10 minutes, the test is considered invalid and should not be read after that.

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      Marissa 2 weeks ago from United States

      Christina, it all depends on when the second line showed up. If it was within the 10 minute limit, then it might mean pregnant.

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      Ainsley 3 weeks ago

      I've done two tests. One didn't respond at all (I wonder if I didn't have it in the per for long enough) One gave a dark control line and a light test line. Thing is, if I am pregnant I am at least 3 months.

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      Prasanna 3 weeks ago

      After a week I have taken pregency test it was positive and two lines r dark,after again I have taken pregency test one line faint another is dark why like that plz answer me

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      Jitender 3 weeks ago

      I want ask one thing that my wife has last LMP is on 03 .12.2017 and when I check UPT on 05 .01.2018 this was negative and again on 16.01.2018 there was a light line and again on 22.01.2018 same thing happened and I visited to gynaecologist and radiologist where USG was done which showed no sac. What I can do now please suggest me.

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      Cynthia 3 weeks ago

      I took a home test one night with in 4 mins it was negative and I left it over night and when I checked it in the morning there was a very faint line . That happened to two of them , the I took a clear blue digital and it said not pregnant ?

      I’m so confused

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      Christina 3 weeks ago

      Hello , I just recently took a pregnancy test but the first line appear and it is very dark and the second line is too too light so I am confused. I will be going to the doctor .

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      Marissa 4 weeks ago from United States

      Melodyyxxx, if the lines appeared within the time limit for the test, then yes it can mean pregnant.

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      melodyyxxx 4 weeks ago

      can i ask a questions i have 2 pt faint line. means? im pregnant or not?

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      Marissa 4 weeks ago from United States

      Sheena Sheena, if you followed the directions of the test and saw two lines, even if one was faint, it probably means pregnant. I suggest waiting a few days and testing again first thing in the morning.

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      sheena sheena 4 weeks ago

      I had my last period on 20 December 2017 . my breast became very tender and painful these days. I had my home pregnancy test and a very paint line appeared on the strip after 4 minutes . Am I pregnant? Really confused. I took my test this evening

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      Marissa 4 weeks ago from United States

      Pearl, if you got a positive on a test at a clinic, I would say that there's a good chance you are pregnant. If you are concerned about a faint line, you should see a doctor.

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      pearl banda 4 weeks ago

      am i pregnant. went to the clinic and my pregnance test was positive. and after two days i took a home test and i saw an extremely faint line

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      Marissa 4 weeks ago from United States

      Geraldine, without knowing when your last period was, it's hard to say how far along you could be.

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      Geraldine 5 weeks ago

      I missed my December periods I had a test one line is lighter. How many weeks maybe

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      Marissa 6 weeks ago from United States

      Linda, I'm sorry, but as I am not a medical professional, I cannot give you an answer. Only your doctor can give you the answer.

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      Linda 6 weeks ago

      Hai marissa,

      My last period was in 20 oct 2017, on 22 Nov, i did my 1st upt at home, a faint line appeared. I was confused, i took another test 3,4 days after the 1st one, still a faint +ve line.. I went to the doctor, the doctor said most probably im pregnant.. She advised me to take another test after a week.. I did, still faint +ve line.. Almost 2 weeks i had missed my period, but why the line didn't getting darker? I continued upt every week, still faint line. Last 27 Dec i went to the doctor to scan.. The doctor said, can't see anything, no sign of baby.. Im so disappointed.. I took another upt test 2 days after the ultrasound scan, this time it showed - ve.. What's really happening? Im i pregnant?

      Was it a chemical pregnancy? Im still not having my period until now. Anyone had the same experience like i did? Tqsm

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      Marissa 7 weeks ago from United States

      Priya, I suggest speaking with your doctor.

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      Marissa 7 weeks ago from United States

      Latoya, the further along in pregnancy you are, the less you have of some of the initial hormones that you have in the beginning. If the doctor isn't worried, I wouldn't be worried.

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      Priya 7 weeks ago

      I have faint line another one is dark line first time pregnancy . doctor says am pregnant but after five days I took home pregnancy test at home result is negative .can u tell me please m pregnant or not

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      Latoya 7 weeks ago

      Why they say if it a fainted lines u having a bad pregnancy i came on my period 8 of October of 17 and went to doctors on 11 of October she told me im pregnant. I spoted in november here is December didnt bleed still see a postive test but now the line is fainted i guess because i took it in the afternoon

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      Marissa 7 weeks ago from United States

      Felicia, it is likely that you could be pregnant.

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      Marissa 7 weeks ago from United States

      Sahana, it is likely that you are pregnant.

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      Sahana 8 weeks ago

      I missed my which was suppos to be on 12/15, I took pregnency test on 12/19 and a faint line appeared (first a dark -ve line started appearing and then a faint positive was visible). All this happened within 2-3mins, and after 5mins both the lines became very dark.

      This was confusing, So I again took the test this morning, and same happened. Does this mean I'm pregnant?

      Please let me know, I'm really very confused.

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      Marissa 2 months ago from United States

      Blossy, I'm sorry, but I think you should speak with your doctor about those results.

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      Marissa 2 months ago from United States

      Lucy, if you saw a faint lines on your pregnancy test within the 10-minute window, it usually means pregnant.

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      Marissa 2 months ago from United States

      Helen, if you thought you were pregnant and you were bleeding, you should see your doctor.

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      Blossy 2 months ago

      On the 10th of October i go to the clinic while i was having a sore stomach then they did HCG results was Positive then stomach continue to be sore I go to the Doctor they did the same HCG results was the same so i started clinic last month then yesterday it was my date the did HCG results was Negative so i don't know what can i do apparently I am lost.

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      Luvy 2 months ago

      Please help me.. I got result from my pregnancy test faint line 2x I'm pregnant

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      Srija 2 months ago

      2nd pink life very very light pls tell i am pregnant r not

    • ThePracticalMommy profile image
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      Marissa 2 months ago from United States

      Unknown, it's possible that you still have pregnancy hormones in your system. It might take a while for your hormones to regulate.

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      Helen hussain 2 months ago

      I'm so confused I did pregnancy test and it confirmed. I was pregnant but I've had bleeding like it my period I took other test and it has dark line and the other window should have a cross but it like it negative but I can look closely and see Aline but not even faint what does it mean

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      Unknown 2 months ago

      If i had an abortion 3 wks ago and i started birth control a couple days after. Would it be possible that i could be pregnant? I have 1 line and a faint line

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      Marissa 2 months ago from United States

      Jhen, if two lines appeared within the 10 minute limit, it usually means pregnant.

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      Jhen 2 months ago

      i've tried using Pregnancy Test early this morning, then i've got 2 lines but the other is faint line, is it possible that i am pregnant?

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      Marissa 2 months ago from United States

      Khenia, if the two lines appeared within the 10-minute limit, then yes it means pregnancy.

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      KHENiA 2 months ago

      Im seeing two line but the other one is faint line , is that mean Im pregnant ?

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      Marissa 3 months ago from United States

      Rini, I'm sorry but I'm not sure what you're referring to. Most pregnancy tests have two lines to indicate pregnancy. Are you seeing two lines?

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      Marissa 3 months ago from United States

      Sarah, if you are seeing two lines within the 10-minute testing window, chances are pretty good that you may be pregnant.

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      Rini 3 months ago

      I done ivf I took urine after my blood test in 17 day urine line was dark and on 18 day my urine line was light do I have chemical pregnancy

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      Sarah 3 months ago

      Thanks this has been from sep if i use the 2 line test the line to show if preg is pencil thin if i use the cross test the line to go down would just have 2pencil thin outter lines going down with only a bit of colour between.just worried i am an not going to know as i didnt with my last child till few weeks before giving birth i feel as though i am an having all signs just not clear with test told dr an he gave me a test to take home an do but same thing happened to that.

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      Marissa 3 months ago from United States

      Sarah, tests from different brands show the results in various ways. Most of them will show two lines if pregnant. Even if one line is faint, it could still mean pregnant.

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      Marissa 3 months ago from United States

      Maryam, faint lines can mean pregnant.

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      Sarah 3 months ago

      All the test ive taken are only pencil thin pink or blue line taken all tyes of test an all the same what does it mean

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      Maryam 3 months ago

      Hi mari,my period since 63days

      I took a pregnancy test and it shows me faint positive lines.it happens 4 times..suggest me

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      Marissa 3 months ago from United States

      Sum, if you are looking at a test that is 3 days old, it is now invalid. You should take a new test.

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      Sum 3 months ago

      Three days later my hpt showing faint positive line what does it indicates

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      Marissa 3 months ago from United States

      Shellyann, if you waited more than 10 minutes to look at it, it was most likely an evaporation line.

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      Marissa 3 months ago from United States

      Jessy, it's possible that you are. I suggest seeing your doctor.

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      Marissa 3 months ago from United States

      Sierra, did you take the tests on the same day? I suggest waiting a few more days and retesting.

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      Marissa 3 months ago from United States

      Mommy_1, it's hard to say. I suggest seeing your doctor.

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      Sierra simmons 3 months ago

      Hi Melissa I took a pregnancy test earlier and it shows a faint pregnancy test basically saying I'm pregnant then I went and bought another one to make sure it said I wasn't my fiance thinks I am but I don't think so

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      Mommy_1 3 months ago

      I took my first pregnancy test on the 17th 2 days before my period I got a really really faint line i retested on the 20 and got another really really faint line , yesterday on the 21st I started bleeding really light and I had no cramps or backaches so I assumed it’s implantation bleeding, today the 22nd I took another test and I can barely see the 2nd line am I pregnant or not ?

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      Marissa 4 months ago from United States

      Sam, if the test you have says that two lines means pregnant, then yes you may be pregnant, even if the second line is faint.

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      Sam 4 months ago

      I took a pregnancy test and the second line is very faint. Am I pregnant?

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      Marissa 4 months ago from United States

      Sara, have you started your cycle? If not, give it a few more days and try testing again.

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      Marissa 4 months ago from United States

      Savannah, if you took a test where two lines means pregnant, then yes, even if the second line is faint. I suggest waiting a few more days and taking another just to be sure.

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      Savannah 4 months ago

      I took a pregnancy test and the second line is very faint. Am I pregnant?

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      Marissa 4 months ago from United States

      Michael, it depends on the test, but if there are two lines, no matter how faint, it usually indicates pregnancy.

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      michael 4 months ago

      I took the test the first line is faint and the second line is dark

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      Marissa 4 months ago from United States

      Gugu, she should see her doctor about her symptoms.

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      Marissa 4 months ago from United States

      Sonia, are you reading the test within the 10 minute time limit? If you are reading them after that time has passed and you are seeing a faint line, the test is invalid. If the blood test came back negative, then it usually just means you are not pregnant. If you are concerned please speak with your doctor.

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      Marissa 4 months ago from United States

      Parveen, it could mean pregnant, but the hormone just isn't strong enough yet to show a stronger line on the test. If you wait a few more days it may get darker. If you have concerns please speak with your doctor.

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      Marissa 4 months ago from United States

      Jev, I'm sorry, but I have never gone through the implant process before. Please speak with your doctor about your concerns.

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      Marissa 4 months ago from United States

      Precious, I'm very sorry, but it seems that you may have had a miscarriage. I would think they would have told you that. For a few days, your body may still have the pregnancy hormone in it and you will still get positive tests. I know this for a fact because I went through it myself. I highly suggest going back to your doctor to see what's going on.

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      Marissa 4 months ago from United States

      Kchox, it depends on the type of test you used.

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      Marissa 4 months ago from United States

      Paola90, it's very possible that you are pregnant. Speak with your doctor if you are unsure about the test.

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      Kchox 5 months ago

      My pregnancy test on T line is divided into two. One is dark pink and one is light. Wat does it mean? Pregnant or not.

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      April 5 months ago

      Okay so what about if it looks like the begginning of a line .

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      Carmela 5 months ago

      2 days after i missed my period, i take a test , the result is very very faint,

      then on the 4th day, i do it again and the result is same.

      i have cramps and backpain from the first day i missed my period up to 4th day.

      am i pregnant?

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      Monica 5 months ago

      So I took a pregnancy test. Faint positive line. I took one later that day it was negative. I took one two days later it was in the morning and it was a dark line right away. I'm recently on medication that makes me gain weight.. So I don't know how pregnant I could be. (Irregular periods) if I was farther along it would have been positive with a darker line no matter what time of day right? I can't get into the doc until next week and I'm going crazy trying to figure out how far along I am!! Thanks for any feedback!

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      tsholo 5 months ago

      Please help me I bought pregnancy test and use it they give me two line dark as and light one ... and decided to go to the clinic and give me one dark line I may pregnant or not but am going every month to my period pains

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      Larissa 5 months ago

      I have a light test line too .one is dark and the other is light .does it mean am expecting

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      Charlotte 5 months ago

      I am over a week late for my cycle. I took a test yesterday and the line was vvery faint. Almsot not visible. I had to hold the test further away to see the line. I thought I was making myself crazy but my husband stated that he saw the line too. It was just very light. Some sites are saying "Positive is a positive" but Im having a hard time with it. Can a real person tell me of their experience? I also have sore breasts and nipples and a few times I've had abdominal pain that almst felt like menstrual cramps but nothing happened. Anyone?

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      paola90 5 months ago

      So I took a test a couple of weeks ago at that time it had been 3 weeks since my missed period, the line was extremely faint like you could barely see it, since then I've had additional symptoms like sore breasts and morning sickness, what do you think am I or am I not?

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      Johnquiia 5 months ago

      My cycle is 2 weeks late, I have taken multiple test and they all have a very faint positive sign. Could I be pregnant or is my mind playing tricks on me?

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      Marissa 6 months ago from United States

      Karla, sometimes your hormones can change and mimic the symptoms of pregnancy. If you were pregnant, the blood work would have indicated so. I suggest listening to your doctor.

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      Karla 6 months ago

      So im officially 1 month late on my menses. I went to the Dr and was Negative on urine and blood work. I asked the Dr for an Ultrasound but was told I didnt need one. He gave me 2 options, wait for my Menses or he could prescribe me medicine to start my menses. He prescribed me meds. I am scared to take it because what if I am pregnant, I have pregnancy symptoms, my nipples are turning darker and growing. What else could I do? What would you recommend?

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      Marissa 6 months ago from United States

      Razana, most tests have a limit of 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, they're considered invalid. I suggest testing again to check and to follow the directions for time limit.

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      Marissa 6 months ago from United States

      Ramya, did you take a test?

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      Marissa 6 months ago from United States

      Karla, it's possible that your hormones are out of whack for some reason. This could be due to stress, change in eating habits, change in sleep habits, and a number of other factors. I suggest speaking with your doctor.

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      Karla 6 months ago

      HELP! I am now 18 days late, I took a HPT (ept brand) 6 days ago and the + sign was very very very faint like you can barely see it, you have to hold it at an angle to see it. I took another one and it came out (-), I took blood work and also came out (-). I have a few symptoms like dizzy, constipation and nausea. Has this happened to anyone? Could I still be pregnant and be getting false Negatives? I have never skipped a period.

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      Marissa 6 months ago from United States

      Karla, I suggest waiting another week.

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      Karla 6 months ago

      Hello, I am always get my period on the 15th of every month. Last month I was 2 days late, this month I am currently 10-12 days late. I took a HPT (ept brand) yesterday and the + sign was very very very faint like you can barely see it, you have to hold it at an angle to see it, could it be a positive? or should i wait another week to test again? TIA

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      Marissa 6 months ago from United States

      Destiny, if there were two lines, even if one was faint, it usually means pregnant.

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