What Does the Inside of a Clearblue Digital Test Look Like?
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.
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.
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
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.
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:
- 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:
- 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:
- Blue dye tests always seem to have a faint second line, even when they're absolutely negative.
- 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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Kierstin Gunsberg