What Does the Inside of a Clearblue Digital Test Look Like?

Updated on February 15, 2018
Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

Kierstin is a mom to two little girls, is not a fan of Popples, and is really, really good at removing crayon from practically any surface.

Disclaimer

Although for experimental reasons it's fun to open up digital pregnancy tests and look inside, understand that digital tests are not meant to be interpreted or used in any way other than how the manufacturers directions tell you to.

Source

When I was trying to get pregnant, I did just about anything to confirm that I was pregnant including ripping open negative pregnancy tests to get a better look—something that is basically frowned upon by everyone everywhere, especially BabyCenter (Seriously, don't do this and then tell the moms on BabyCenter because they'll read you the riot act). I thought that if I could just get a more up close and personal, squinty look then my suspicions would be confirmed.

In fact, the only thing staring at a naked pregnancy test strip confirmed for me is that I was really desperate so to get an even clearer answer, one where I could simply read the words "Pregnant" or "Not Pregnant" instead of deciphering fuzzy lines, I turned my wallet upside down and shelled out for digital tests.

If you're here, then it's because, like me, you still don't trust those words, whichever ones you just got, so you either already have or are thinking about busting open that dense plastic and peeling the damp test strip out.

I'm obligated to say, you really shouldn't do this. But why shouldn't you open up a digital pregnancy test if the strip inside is basically the same as a non-digital pregnancy test? Because the strip inside a digital pregnancy test is actually NOT the same as the strip inside the non-digitals.

The difference, in so many words, is that the digital test strip is meant to be interpreted by the sensors in the test and the test strip inside the non-digital test is meant to be interpreted by your eyes.

Here's the specific type of Clearblue digital used in this experiment.
Here's the specific type of Clearblue digital used in this experiment. | Source

Oh good, you're still here. I had to give you fair warning, but if you're still extra curious about what goes on inside a digital test, here's the rest of my story:

Now, back in my digital experimenting days I would promptly start Googling, "What does a positive Clearblue digital look like inside when it says Not Pregnant?" and I never got what I wanted which was to see clearly what a confirmed negative digital looked like inside and what a confirmed positive digital looked like inside and to compare the difference between those photos and my own test which always seemed to have a vague second line, even when it said "Not Pregnant".

Most of what came up though would be forum posts with like 2975483 posts of "I don't know, you might be! SO MANY PRAYERS AND BABY DUST XOXO!!111" and "WTF YOU'RE GOING 2 HELL DON'T EVER DO THIS AGAIN U IDIAT"

It was impossible to decipher between the photos that showed a test from a pregnant woman from a test that came from a woman who turned out not to be pregnant. FOR SCIENCE I NEEDED MORE CLARITY and you do too! And you're in luck! I am a confirmed def-not-pregnant lady and my good friend is a confirmed absolutely-for-sure-gonna-have-a-baby-pregnant lady. To help you out, we both peed on some sticks, cracked 'em open and took some pictures.

First things first though, if you haven't already taken your digital test you need to go do that.

Taking the Test

Your test should look like this fresh out of the packaging.
Your test should look like this fresh out of the packaging. | Source

Tips for Taking a Clearblue With Smart Countdown

If you're taking a particular type of test for the first time, it's important to read through the directions that came with it before you start the test, just to make sure that you understand how to complete each step since the steps vary depending on the brand. Thankfully, the Clearblue digital is pretty straightforward, but here are some tips to ensure that everything goes smoothly:

  • Rather than urinating directly on the testing area, pee in a sterile cup first. Then, dip the test according to the timing indicated in the directions. This way, you'll have more control and avoid user errors including not having enough urine to saturate the test strip or accidentally dropping it in the toilet. Yikes!
  • After you take the test, don't wiggle it or wave it around too much. Replace the cap and set in on a flat surface while it develops the results.
  • With the Clearblue Digital with Smart Countdown (the brand we used for this article), you should be able to tell that the test is working by the indicator within the window which will add a block every minute or so as the test develops to let you know that yes, it's hard to wait, but it is working.
  • Rumor has it that the smart countdown takes longer if the test is negative and goes quicker if the test will be positive. Whether there's any validity to that though is yet to be confirmed.

Here's the Smart Countdown in action. Remember that it can take up to three minutes to develop your results.
Here's the Smart Countdown in action. Remember that it can take up to three minutes to develop your results. | Source

Taking the Test Apart

What You'll Need

To safely dismantle your test you'll need:

  • A pair of thick rubber gloves
  • A plastic container (a Rubbermaid box or bus tub will work well)
  • Clean pair of tweezers
  • A trashcan nearby

How to Take Apart a Clearblue Pregnancy Test

If you haven't already opened your test to see what's inside here's how to do it:

  • Slip on the gloves. You're going to want to protect your fingers from the inside of the test which can have sharp edges.
  • Place the test in the plastic container. This is so that while you're opening the test, any loose pieces that might fly out like the button battery or chemical compounds (they're solid, don't worry) won't get lost in space - or worse, your dog's stomach. (Also, throw all of this safely int he garbage when you're done analyzing).
  • Remove the blue cap from the testing area. You need to do this so that it's easier to open up that end of the test.
  • Take your tweezers and, with the bottom end of the test facing you, insert one of the tweezer prongs into the divot at the test seam, pictured here:

Here is the opposite end of the testing area, where you'll gently insert one of the tweezer prongs.
Here is the opposite end of the testing area, where you'll gently insert one of the tweezer prongs. | Source
  • Gently wiggle the tweezers around until you feel the casing loosening. There's not a perfect science to it, just be careful to keep your fingers out of the way (I've received blood blisters carelessly opening these things) and to work slowly so stuff doesn't fly out at you.
  • Pry the the two pieces of casing away from each other until the test is open like this:

Here's the inside of a Clearblue Digital with Smart Countdown
Here's the inside of a Clearblue Digital with Smart Countdown | Source
  • Last, use the tweezers to carefully remove the white test strip from the plastic casing and turn it over to see the lines.

Now that you're looking at the inside test strip you're probably wincing and analyzing it the same as you would have with a regular test at half the price. GREAT. Only this time, the results are probably even more ambiguous given that most digital pregnancy tests will always show at least a vague second line. But why oh why? I can't say for sure, I'm not an HPT manufacturer and I'm not even a real scientist. From what I've read, and from my own hypothesis there are probably two reasons:

  1. Blue dye tests always seem to have a faint second line, even when they're absolutely negative.
  2. It's possible that digital tests are testing for more than one kind of hormone as opposed to regular HPTs and that the extra vague line that's showing up is developing other hormones in your non-pregnant body.

Again, I can't tell you for sure, but what I can do is show you my (negative) results and then show you my friends (positive) results to give you some insight into just how defined that line really needs to be to interpret it as positive.

Positive

What Does the Inside of a Positive Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test Look Like?

Cue the suspense music. So, what does the inside of a positive test look like anyway? Thanks to my friend I can show you:

A nice little positive Clearblue digital test.
A nice little positive Clearblue digital test. | Source
Positive Clearblue Digital test strip with two lines.
Positive Clearblue Digital test strip with two lines. | Source

As you can see, that test line is unmistakably positive. If your test says "not pregnant" but the inside of your test looks as bold and bright as that one above then I would hightail it to your OB.

It should be noted that when she took this test, my friend was confirmed by ultrasound to be in her first trimester so at the time she was definitely further along than most people who would be taking a digital for the first time that cycle. In fact, that test line is darker than the control. But what this shows us is that when a digital test strip is positive, there's no question whatsoever.

Can You Get a False Positive on a Digital?

Although there are accounts of it all over the internet, you have to be skeptical about claims of a false positive on a digital test. Digital tests usually test for more of the pregnancy hormone than traditional HPTs. This is to avoid confusion and to be able to know for certain that you're for reals pregnant. But what if a test turns up positive while other turn up negative or you get your period?

The most common explanation for this is a chemical pregnancy, a miscarriage that occurs early on in the pregnancy.

Negative

Negative Clearblue test.
Negative Clearblue test. | Source

What Does the Inside of a Negative Clearblue Test Look Like Then?

Now for the inside of a negative digital. I took this test when I was one or two days from beginning my next cycle, so in theory, if I had been pregnant it would have been very early on but still close enough to my period due date for me to most likely receive a positive result.

Negative Clearblue Digital test strip with super faint second line.
Negative Clearblue Digital test strip with super faint second line. | Source

As you can see, this test looks much, much different from my friend's clearly positive one. Still, if you wince, if you really, really want for it to be there, there is a vague (vague) test line with a bit of blue. It didn't mean I was pregnant (I'm not), so what do two lines on a Clearblue digital test that reads "Not Pregnant" mean?

It means that blue dye tests are notoriously confusing compared to pink dye tests and just because this one is digital, that doesn't take away from the fact that underneath the dye is still that tricky, tricky blue stuff that you can't trust unless it's blazing. While some internet detectives claim that Clearblue digitals test for luteal hormones along with hCG, the official Clearblue site only claims to test for the presence of hCG which is present during pregnancy. So I think it's safe to assume that if there's a faint second line inside your blue dye digital and the test is claiming "not pregnant" you need to trust it.

If you still don't trust it hold off for 48 hours before testing again, that way, if you are pregnant your body has had more time to accumulate pregnancy hormones.

And of course, if your period becomes late and your HPTs are consistently negative, it's time to ring up your doctor and ask for some professional advice.

Can You Get a False Negative on a Digital?

Yes, you can get a false negative on a digital test, although the chances of that happening are less and less the later you are for your cycle.

As explained earlier, digital tests typically test for more of the pregnancy hormone than traditional HPTs, so in theory, if you test before your period is due then there's a chance your test will read "not pregnant" when you're actually pregnant, but there just isn't enough hormone to confirm it on a digital.

How Common are False Negatives on Clearblue Digitals?

Have you ever had a negative result on a digital Clearblue when you were actually pregnant? Take this poll and leave a comment below!

See results

Questions & Answers

  • I have taken a Clear Blue Digital Test today and got a ‘not pregnant’ result. I opened the test to find 2 pretty obvious lines! I’m not getting my hopes up, but what do you think?

    I've seen instances where both lines inside the digital were really clear, yet it came up negative. When the person retested a few days later, the test did come back positive because the hormones finally had enough time to accumulate, allowing the test to be positive.

    If I were you, I would take another test now. If this one comes back negative as well, I'd hold off on testing again unless your period becomes late.

  • How early can the digital test strip detect pregnancy before a missed period?

    This is so debated, honestly! From my own experience and research, digital pregnancy tests and their strips are not as sensitive as regular pregnancy tests.

    According to ClearBlue's website, it's most accurate on the day of the missed period, and it should be 99% accurate at that point. This is anecdotal and not scientific, but in my birth groups, I've noticed that most women aren't getting a positive on digital any sooner than two days before their expected period, and many of them even have to wait until the day of or after to get a "YES" on the digital test.

  • How many weeks pregnant was your friend when this pregnancy test was taken?

    My friend was about 12 weeks along.

  • My pregnancy test shows a light, semi faint line. It is ridiculous and gets my hopes up for nothing. I'm never buying Clear Blue again ever. Why don't the two lines register as a positive result?

    I agree, blue dye tests, in general, are extremely frustrating. If you use a regular Clear Blue test (non-digital), a faint line doesn't necessarily mean you're pregnant. I know that they'll say it does but I've taken blue dyes tests before that developed a faint second line and I wasn't pregnant. I'm going to assume that this is what happens on the digital CB's as well. Why exactly it happens, I don't know, but the rumor is that this brand also picks up other hormones in the body (besides pregnancy hormones) and that's why the faint second line appears even though you're not pregnant (and why they tell you NOT to take digital tests apart).

© 2018 Kierstin Gunsberg

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    • Kierstin Gunsberg profile imageAUTHOR

      Kierstin Gunsberg 

      3 days ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      I highly, highly doubt she's pregnant based on the info you gave me. Digital tests, if not taken exactly as instructed can come up with the little book. If she had missed her period THEN I would be concerned but it sounds like you guys just bought a faulty test.

    • profile image

      Anonymous 

      4 days ago

      My girlfriend started her period three days ago. Yesterday it stopped at 1:11 PM, and then started up again at 5 PM. We bought the pregnancy test about an hour ago, and it said not pregnant for a second, and was very faint, with the booklet showing up after (which said it could be an error. Now we are just waiting until she takes the other (simple) test, I’m really scared. Does it mean she’s pregnant or not? We always use condoms, she’s on birth control, AND I pull out before I come when we have sex. Please answer this ASAP, I’m 17 and don’t want this ruining my life.

    • Kierstin Gunsberg profile imageAUTHOR

      Kierstin Gunsberg 

      13 days ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Ashley, I'm sorry to hear about your miscarriage. Thank you for coming back and updating. I know that for other women researching these things, it's helpful to know they're not alone.

    • profile image

      Ashley 

      13 days ago

      I wanted to give a not so helpful update on my previous post from 2 weeks ago. I was a week and a half late for my period and miscarried two days ago. No other tests showed an obvious pink line so the semi faint blue lines that I saw on my Clearblue test may or may not have picked up on early HCG levels before miscarrying. Sorry that my experience didn't provide any clarity for anybody. I just wanted to update because I said that I would.

    • profile image

      HopefulSoul93 

      2 weeks ago

      Ok. So me and my man are trying. We definitely timed ovulation. My expected period is in three days. 3 days ago I took a clear blue Digi just like the one you show here, and it was negative. So I decided to take it apart to see the strip.(and I was curious what difference on these than a reg test on inside) and it definitely looked negative. One line. Well, today I took one, and it still said negative, but I opened it pretty well imediatley and there was two lines. Shiuld I assume low levels and just wait it out? I really want to buy a non Digi to see what it says but I've had so many false positives,(as rare As they are) yes it's happened to me a few time. May have been evap lines back then but it def didn't seem like it and they appeared right away. Usually evap lines have a grey color. These all didn't. Anyway. This test I took today has me questioning if I am now cuz I was convinced I wasn't. But my nipples are discharging and I feel a bit like I do last time I was preggers. (Had a miscarriage Nov.16 2017 ) so I'm already a wreck on the whole things and my nerves won't stop. I just want to know! I hate this waiting game. When I w as pregnant before I kept thinking I was gunna get my period because I had light cramps, which I kinda have now and have for 2 days but it's so light and don't feel menstrual. But the two are so similar it's hard to tell. Just want some advice and input. Thank you : )

    • Kierstin Gunsberg profile imageAUTHOR

      Kierstin Gunsberg 

      3 weeks ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Ashley, there's nothing more annoying than feeling pregnant and not feeling like you're getting accurate test results. I hope you get the answer you're looking for and definitely come back and update. These "updates" can be really helpful for other women in the same boat.

    • profile image

      Ashley 

      3 weeks ago

      I just wanted to say thank you for making this informative post! It's nice to see a definite negative and a definite positive on these tests. I just ordered mine from Amazon which I'm already aware is a gamble on legitimacy. I've had suspicion that I'm pregnant for about a week and a half now ("that" feeling, potential implantation bleeding, nausea, sore breasts, abnormal cramping, incredibly tired). However, all tests have shown up negative (I assume I took them all way too early - a few days after the potential implantation bleeding). I took a Clearblue Digital test today with first morning urine and it said not pregnant. I popped it open and two lines showed up, the test line being semi-faint but definitely there. I took another test (evening, obviously diluted, almost clear urine) and received another not pregnant. Again, I popped the test open and the control line on the evening urine test was VERY faint, though still noticeable.

      I was expecting my period last night but it didn't come. I've decided that if my period doesn't come by the end of the week, I'll go to the doctor to get a blood test. I'll update once I get more info!

    • profile image

      Joanna Harrod 

      2 months ago

      Well see what happened was i had a period on the 7th of this month and it lasted until the 11th okay i stop bleeding from the 12th to the 14th and on the 14th i had a very very light bleeding that night after that night i havent bled anymore but the other day i was sitting on the couch with my legs up against my stomach and i started cramping in my lower left abdomen so i was like something isnt right and i buy a test the first one said pregnant okay and so i took more to be sure and the rest of them said not pregnant....but today my stomach been feeling weird any way i came home and a while ago i decided i was gone take the tests apart to see how the things work and i seen the lines on all 4 of them...and only 1 of the told me i was pregnant

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