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Is a Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test a Positive?

Is a Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test a Positive?

Sometimes it can be hard to accurately read the results of a pregnancy test. The easy part is actually taking the test. All you have to do is place the stick under your urine stream while you pee, or collect a pee sample and place the test stick into the cup. The difficulty lies in understanding how to correctly interpret the results of the pregnancy test brand you choose. Even if the test is easy to use, you may be confused as to how to interpret the results when you see a very faint line appear.

Why do pregnancy tests sometimes show such a faint line? And why aren’t the tests designed to always show the results in a clear and easy-to-understand way? Clear results would make things much simpler.

Is a Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test a Positive?

If you’ve followed the pregnancy test instructions properly, a faint line is a positive test. Seeing any sort of line on the tests, generally means that hCG has been detected in your urine. If the line is faint, it’s worth taking another test , maybe a day or two later, to see if the line gets stronger.

But Why Is the Line on My Pregnancy Test Only Faint?

There are actually several reasons that a pregnancy test may only show a faint line. Let’s take a look at how these tests function. All pregnancy tests are designed to detect the hormone hCG, human chorionic gonadotropin. The sensitivity to hCG varies depending on the brand of home pregnancy test you buy. Tests that are highly sensitive will be able to give you a positive result sooner than tests that are less sensitive. By the time you miss your period, most pregnancy tests will be able to give you an accurate reading.

If the pregnancy test you use only detects a little bit of hCG in your urine, the line on the test may be very faint. It all depends on how sensitive that particular brand of test is. Look for a pregnancy test with high sensitivity for the best chance at seeing a bold line.

So How Sensitive Is Your Pregnancy Test?

We come across many brands of pregnancy test in our everyday contact with customers. At Zoom Baby we offer a 10 mIU pregnancy test. This is a very sensitive test. Often people call these Early Pregnancy Tests as they will show the presence of hCG much earlier than a less sensitive test of 25 or 50 mIU. Our 10 mIU home pregnancy test may show a stronger line than a 50 mIU test.

Testing Too Early

Test results may also show a faint line if you are not far along enough in a pregnancy to get an accurate measure of hCG in your urine. You can always take another pregnancy test in a few days if you think that may be happening to you. Results at that time should be clearer.

When testing early you might want to consider a pregnancy test that has been specifically designed for that purpose. Partly because of the confusion that can be caused by faint lines on a pregnancy test, Clearblue introduced a digital pregnancy test called the Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test with Weeks Indicator. If you want to know if you  ‘Pregnant’ or ‘Not Pregnant’, this test tells you as well for how long. /it can be sued up to 4 days before your period is due.

For even earlier checking, the Clearblue Early Detection Pregnancy Test can be used up to 6 days early.  The First Response Early Results Pregnancy Test can also be used up to 6 days early. Many women prefer the First Response test over the Clearblue one, mainly because it is a little bite cheaper. Cost is obviously a major consideration when testing regularly for pregnancy.

Evaporation Lines

Pregnancy tests may show a faint line for other reasons as well. Some tests may show condensation in the testing window. Sometimes these evaporation lines may appear as a false positive if you aren’t clear about how a positive result should look.

Defective or Expired Pregnancy Test

In some instances, you may see a faint line if you get a home pregnancy test that is defective. This can also happen if you use a test after the expiration date has passed. If your pregnancy test shows a confusing faint line, the best thing to do is wait a couple of days before you test again. Those results should be easier to read accurately.

Photo Credit: “Hola papas” (CC BY 2.0) by bea y fredi

Zoom Baby is a leading supplier of Pregnancy Tests and Ovulation Test Kits
This Zoom Baby post has been updated since its original publication in 2014.


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