Faint Line on Pregnancy Test Is Very Light and Not Getting Darker: Am I Pregnant?
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 pregnant or is it a negative?
Am I Pregnant If I See a Faint Line on My Pregnancy Test?
A faint line still indicates a positive pregnancy. According to fertility expert Dr. Aumatma Shah, "A faint result may mean that you took the test too early when there was not enough hCG available in your urine to produce a dark line. Or, it could be that the embryo didn't implant, and hence, there was not enough hCG being produced. If the embryo does in fact implant and begin to grow, hCG levels will rise and the line should get darker." hCG levels are abundantly present two to three days after your missed period (15 to 16 days after ovulation), so if you have a faint line, wait until after your missed period to test.
Reasons for a Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test
Testing Too Early
Testing at any time before your missed period means there won't be enough hCG hormone in your urine for the test to detect. I recommend waiting at least three days after your missed period to test again if you want to be sure, but a faint line still indicates pregnancy because there was enough hGC to produce a line, just not enough to produce a dark line.
Results are more accurate when hCG hormones are concentrated. Drinking water will dilute the urine and may result in a false negative pregnancy. This is why it's important to test your first morning's urine before you eat or drink.
Chemical Pregnancy or Early Miscarriage
Early miscarriages, otherwise known as "chemical pregnancies," occur in the first 12 weeks. Even though you are no longer carrying an embryo, there may still be residual hCG hormone for the test to detect. Dr. Amy Beckley, CEO of MFB Fertility Center, explains, "Chemical pregnancies can sometimes be due to low progesterone. Therefore, when a women gets a faint positive pregnancy test, she could be at risk for losing her pregnancy. If low, a woman should seek medical help and get progesterone supplementation. A pregnancy with a faint positive can be saved by progesterone supplemental. In fact, 30% of pregnancies fail due to low progesterone and by monitoring progesterone levels in early pregnancy, we could be saving them."
Your Test Isn't Sensitive Enough
Many people suggest getting a test that can detect 15-20 mIU/L. This means that even with low amounts of hCG hormone, the test can detect a pregnancy. However, the test is only accurate 60% of the time, so it is still better to wait a few days after you've missed your period to test rather than testing early, even with a highly sensitive HPT.
Faint Positive Pregnancy Test
Which Is the Most Sensitive Pregnancy Test?
First Response is currently the most sensitive home pregnancy test on the market, detecting hCG levels as low as 6.5 mIU/ml, while most home pregnancy tests can only detect a sensitivity of 20–25 miU/ml. The lowest concentration of hCG that can be detected is 5 mIU/ml, but there is no over-the-counter product that is that sensitive.
Can a Faint Line Be Negative?
Sometimes a faint line may indicate a false positive, meaning you are not pregnant. There are two reasons this faint line may appear: the line is either an evaporation line or you had an early miscarriage. With early miscarriage, otherwise known as a "chemical pregnancy," residual hCG hormone may still remain in a woman's body, and there may be just enough for it to show up on a home pregnancy test. But unless you experience bleeding, a negative faint line is just an evaporation line.
What Is an Evaporation Line and Is It Common?
An evaporation line is a faint, almost colorless line that commonly appears when the urine in the results window of your home pregnancy test fades and dries out. This is why it is so important to read your results within the designated reaction time frame (usually 3-5 minutes) and not after that, otherwise you might assume you're pregnant when you're actually not. So make to sure read the results in the allotted time frame, not after!
I See Two Lines on a Pregnancy Test, But One Is Very Light
Most home pregnancy 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 positive pregnancy.
Why Is the Second Line Faint?
You may have a low level of hCG in your urine as it may be 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.
If you're still not sure or if the line appears the same, you can contact your healthcare 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.
What If I See an Extremely 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, and what you're seeing is simply an evaporation line. 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 healthcare provider to ask about a blood test. Also ask about possible reasons why your period hasn't arrived.
Faint Positive Line on Pregnancy Test
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 get the most accurate results.
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. Does that mean that 6-12 days after conception (if you can figure out when that occurred), you should take a home pregnancy test? 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.
Normal Levels of hCG From Last Menstrual Period (LMP)
Weeks From LMP
hCG Concentration (mIU/mL)
5 – 50 mIU/ml
5 – 426 mIU/ml
18 – 7,340 mIU/ml
1,080 – 56,500 mIU/ml
7, 650 – 229,000 mIU/ml
25,700 – 288,000 mIU/ml
13,300 – 254,000 mIU/ml
4,060 – 165,400 mIU/ml
3,640 – 117,000 mIU/ml
0 – 5 mIU/mL
0 – 8 mIU/mL
How to Avoid Getting a Faint Test Line
- Take the test first thing in the morning. The first morning's urine works best because the hCG hormone is most concentrated in the morning when you haven't diluted it by drinking water.
- Wait until you've missed your period to take the test. My recommendation is to always wait until you miss your period because this is when implantation prompts your body to produce more hCG. You'll have greater chance (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.
- Pick a home pregnancy test that detects 15 mIU/L or higher. 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.
Wait until you have missed a period before using a home pregnancy test. You'll get a more accurate result.
A Faint Line Is Most Likely a Positive Test Result
If there are two lines, no matter how faint the second one is, you're most likely pregnant! If you still need to know for sure, contact your healthcare 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 early pregnancy symptoms, and then, you'll know for sure 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!
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.