Negative pregnancy tests can be heartbreaking if you have been trying to conceive. However, it is possible that your pregnancy test is wrong. There are times that negatives are actually positive results and we’ll cover these shortly.
To decrease the risk of a false negative test, you should wait until your period is due – preferably afterwards – before taking any pregnancy test. You will ensure that there is a detectable amount of human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) hormone so that the pregnancy tests can determine that positive result you’ve waited to see.
Why False Negatives Tests Happen
False negative pregnancy test results sometimes occur when you are really pregnant. There are a number of reasons why the negative may happen:
You’ve Tested Too Early
You may have calculated your ovulation cycle wrong or the egg may have implanted at a later date. By taking a test before your period is meant to happen, you are likely to get a negative result. The levels of the hCG hormone hasn’t had the chance it needs to build up and it will not be detectable for the pregnancy test.
It is also worth finding out more about the sensitivity of the test you are using. Those with 25 mIU will be able to test four to five days before the due date of your period. Those with higher sensitivity levels will not usually detect the hCG until a day or two later. Avoid risking testing too early by waiting until after your period is due. Those that are extremely sensitive will be able to pick up the positive result.
You Haven’t Used the Pregnancy Test Properly
You need to follow the directions on the test to the letter. You have the option of urinating directly on the strip or dipping it into a cup of urine. The first part of the stream and the first urine of the day have the most concentrated levels of hCG and will make it easier for the test to pick them up. Not following the instructions could lead to false negatives appearing. Most pregnancy tests come with well illustrated instructions which should reduce the chance of mistakes. If your test is manufactured by one of the big brands such as Clearblue or First Response, you can also find video instructions on YouTube.
Not Following the Right Time Frame
The tests have a stipulated timeframe for when to look to see if you are pregnant. You should check when that timeframe has passed – any earlier and you will not have given it enough time to detect the hormones and any later and the test becomes invalid and can lead to negative results.
If you have a negative result but think there is a chance that it could be wrong, give it a couple of days and then take another test. Negative results don’t necessarily mean that you are not pregnancy. It may be that you took the test when there wasn’t enough hCG hormone in your body or it could be that you took the test incorrectly.
If you take multiple tests and receive different results, contact your doctor and have a blood test taken. This will help to make sure you get the accurate result.
The Pregnancy Test Is Faulty
Let’s be realistic here – it is very rare for a Pregnancy Test to be faulty. Most are produced to very strict manufacturing guidelines so the chances of the test not working correctly are very rare indeed. It does happen very occasionally though – in October 2018, for example, Clear & Simple had to recall thousands of faulty pregnancy tests. This was due to the fact that the tests were incorrectly telling ladies that they were pregnant, when actually they were not.
I Missed My Period but My Pregnancy Test Is Negative, What’s Going On?
When you miss your period it is easy to jump to the simple conclusion that you might be pregnant. However, this may not always be the case. For starters, your menstrual cycle can vary between cycle. Statistics show that a 7 day difference between cycles is common for nearly half of women. Another reason you might no have a period can be because of:
- high levels of stress
- poor sleep
If you have just had a baby and are breastfeeding, this can also cause irregular periods. Things might not get back to normal until you stop feeding.
The onset of menopause is another possible reason for the lack of a period. Similarly, birth control pills can also change the frequency of your periods when you first come off them. The reason for this is because, whilst you are taking hormonal contraceptives, they take control of your menstrual cycles so it is possible for you to be irregular for a month or two as your body ‘recalibrates’.
If you haven’t had a period for months, see your GP to find out the reason. It could be down to an imbalance in levels of your hormone, a side effect from medication, too much exercise, or being severely under or overweight.
This post first appeared in 2013 and has been updated since.