Home pregnancy tests are a fairly accurate way to detect a pregnancy. Some tests are sensitive enough to detect a pregnancy up to 1 day after a missed period in some people.
In this article, you can find answers to some of the common questions about faint positive lines on home pregnancy tests.
Does a faint positive line mean a pregnancy?
A faint positive line on a home test usually indicates pregnancy.
There is a good chance that pregnancy did occur if a faint positive line appears on a home test.
Every pregnancy and pregnancy test is different. Some people have a noticeable dark line when they take a pregnancy test, while others notice more of a faint positive line. This is particularly true in early pregnancy when hormones levels are much lower.
Pregnancy tests measure levels of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin or hCG. The body produces more hCG after a fertilized egg implants in the wall of the womb.
Some medicines contain hCG as an active ingredient, and so taking these can potentially lead to a false positive test result.
Another possibility is a chemical pregnancy or very early miscarriage that occurs in the first 13 weeks after conception.
After a pregnancy loss, it takes some time for hCG levels to return to previous levels. Pregnancy tests measure hCG levels, and so taking a pregnancy test during this time will still give a positive result.
Only a doctor can work out whether a faint positive result is due to early pregnancy, medication, or a chemical pregnancy.
But, if a person gets a faint positive test result while they are bleeding, or they have a period, it may indicate a chemical pregnancy.
If a person suspects that they may be having a miscarriage or has questions about a faint positive pregnancy test, they should contact a doctor for advice.
What is an evaporation line?
An evaporation line is a type of false positive result that can occur with a pregnancy test.
If someone has left a pregnancy test for longer than advised, the urine on the stick begins to evaporate, which can cause the line to blur or look distorted.
In some cases, evaporation can make a single line resemble two different lines, giving a false "positive" result.
When taking a pregnancy test, it is essential that people read the instructions carefully. The instructions usually advise reading the results within a specific time after taking the test.
Learn more about evaporation lines here.
How does a pregnancy test work?
Once fertilization of an egg has occurred, and it implants into the uterine wall, the body begins to produce hCG. Home pregnancy tests detect the amount of this hormone that is present in the urine.
Immediately after conception, the hCG levels are quite low. In a healthy pregnancy, the levels of the hormone should double every 2 to 3 days.
While the line might be faint at the very beginning of pregnancy, as time goes on and the pregnancy advances, the line that the test produces should get darker and more apparent.
What should I do if I get a faint positive test?
A person should contact a doctor after a second positive test.
A person who gets a faint positive home pregnancy test result should wait a few days and then repeat the test. If the test is positive a second time, they should call their doctor and schedule an appointment.
If the test is negative and the individual has had a period, it is likely that they had an early miscarriage or chemical pregnancy.
Early miscarriages are common and do not usually impact a person's ability to become pregnant later on.
When should I call the doctor?
A person should always call their doctor with questions about a faint positive pregnancy test or if they are concerned about a possible miscarriage. A urine or blood test can always be done at the doctor's office as well.
If someone is currently taking medication that contains hCG as an active ingredient, it may be best if they have a pregnancy test in the doctor's office instead of using a home test.
Sometimes, people can experience some vaginal bleeding after having a faint positive pregnancy test.
If the bleeding is light or similar to a period, they should call their doctor. If the bleeding is very heavy, for example, more than a pad or tampon in an hour, they should go to the emergency room immediately for a doctor to do an evaluation.
A faint positive home pregnancy test result can mean several different things. It often means that a person is pregnant, but there are several other outcomes.
Anyone with a faint positive result should wait a few days and retake the test. As always, it is best to call the doctor with any questions or concerns.