A Very Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test: Pregnant or Not Pregnant?

line on pregnancy test

Taking a home pregnancy test is easy, right? Two pink lines mean 'pregnant' and one pink line means 'not pregnant'. How much easier could it get? But here you are at the end of your cycle anxiously waiting for the results of your test, and there is only a faint line. Now what does that mean? Are your eyes playing tricks on you? Are you pregnant or aren't you?

Does a Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test Mean 'Positive'?

In most cases, if the manufacturers' instructions were followed properly, a faint line indicates a positive pregnancy test. Generally, any line that shows up is a result of HCG being detected in your urine. If you are unsure whether you're seeing a faint line or for further confirmation, it is a good idea to take a second test in a day or two.

Reasons You Might See a Faint Line on a Home Pregnancy Test

woman reading pregnancy test

Testing too early. Testing too early is one of the most common reasons for not getting accurate or clear results from a home pregnancy test. Home pregnancy tests determine pregnancy by detecting the levels of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) in your urine. During the first few weeks of pregnancy, HCG levels in a woman's body double every two to three days. A few days can make a big difference in how much HCG is detected in your urine. Testing should be done no earlier than ten days after ovulation or ideally right after your missed period.

Miscalculating Expected Period

Another common problem with testing is miscalculating when your period is due. BBT charting and writing down your cycle dates can help with any confusion.

Diluted Urine

It was once recommended to only use your first morning urination for pregnancy testing. However, most tests on the market today can be used any time of day. Although, if you are testing early, testing with the first morning urination may be a good idea as early morning urine is more concentrated than urine throughout the day.

Pregnancy Test Sensitivity

Some home pregnancy tests are more sensitive than others. Some tests can detect pregnancy with HCG levels as low as 20 mIU, and other tests require HCG levels of 100 mIU to detect pregnancy. A 20 mIU home pregnancy test may show a stronger line than a 100 mIU test.

Expired Test or Improperly Stored Pregnancy Test

Make sure to check the expiration date on your pregnancy test as well as the storage instructions. An expired test or improperly stored pregnancy test may not work accurately.

Evaporation Line

An evaporation line is caused by urine evaporating from a pregnancy test. The line results in the area where a positive result would normally be seen. Evaporation lines generally do not have any color to them. They look more like a shadow.

Reading Tests Results After Manufacturer's Recommended Time

A faint positive test result may occur if you read the pregnancy test after the manufacturer's recommended time. Some pregnancy tests will continue to react to urine and produce a false positive result if read after the recommended time period.

Chemical Pregnancy

A chemical pregnancy is a pregnancy that produces HCG but does not develop into normal pregnancy. It is a term used to describe a very early miscarriage.

Certain Medications

Certain medications, such as thorazine and fertility medications that contain HCG, may cause a false positive or a faint line on a home pregnancy test. If you're taking these types of medications, it is best to confirm pregnancy with your doctor.

If you have a faint line on a pregnancy test, and you are not sure of the results, retest or consult your doctor for more information. If you have a missed period, consult your doctor.

Think you might be pregnant? Use JM's Due Date Calculator to find your due date!