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Avoid a False Negative Pregnancy Test

Here's How to Avoid a False Negative Pregnancy Test.



ndoubtedly, you have heard stories about women who say “I swear I did not even know I was pregnant.” In fact, TLC even had a show based entirely on women who gave birth without ever realizing they were pregnant. (It lasted two seasons.) Sounds impossible and even scary, right? It is not unusual for a woman who finds herself in this situation to report that she received a negative reading after taking an at-home pregnancy test. In all actuality, the result was a false negative, leaving the pregnancy to progress without her knowing it. 

This leads to an important question. What are the chances that you will find yourself in this situation? The truth is that it is a highly unlikely scenario. Provided you are taking the test correctly, false negative pregnancy tests simply don’t happen. Of course, this does not mean that it is impossible for you to get a negative reading when you are truly pregnant. 

To prevent yourself from getting a false negative pregnancy test result, here is a quick look at what you need to avoid. 

Taking a test way too early in your pregnancy. 

 This is more common in women who are actively trying to get pregnant. They are simply too excited to wait until they have even missed their first period to take the test. For accurate results, it is crucial that you wait until you have missed a period. As a qualitative test, home pregnancy tests measure whether or not human chorionic gonadotropin, better known as hCG or the pregnancy hormone, is present in your urine. In most cases, the hormone is not detectable until after the first missed period. 

Once the time for your period to start has come and gone, a home pregnancy test is around 97 percent accurate. For the remaining 3 percent, more time is needed. Women’s menstrual cycles are different and for some women, it just takes a little longer for enough hCG to be present. This is why it is recommended that you repeat a negative pregnancy test after a few days. (If the results are positive, there is really no reason to repeat the test...your doctor will likely do this during your first visit.) 

The levels of hCG in the blood rapidly increase when you become pregnant. In fact, they usually double every 48 hours, so you should able to trust a negative test result if you wait around a week after your missed period to take the test. Most women can get an accurate answer as to whether or not they are pregnant within four to six weeks after the first day of their last period. Taking it before this time is just too risky, if you want a result you can count on. 

Taking the test incorrectly. 

 You should never assume that all at home pregnancy tests are the same or should be taken the same way, for that matter. Be sure to read the full directions before you take the test and follow them carefully to ensure you are doing it right. Many doctors also strongly suggest that you take at home pregnancy tests first thing in the morning because this is when the concentration of HCG in your urine tends to be at its highest. 

Taking an expired pregnancy test. 

 Just like everything from medications, eye drops, and skin creams to bread and eggs, pregnancy tests have an expiration test. This is why it is so important that you check the date on the pregnancy test before you take it. This should be done in the store, as well as before taking a test that has been sitting in your medicine cabinet for an extended period of time. When an at home pregnancy test has passed its expiration date, it is highly unlikely that it will work correctly, which greatly increases the chances of an inaccurate result. 

If you are intent on not being one of those women who find themselves saying “I did not even know I was pregnant,” you must be absolutely certain that it is not only the right time during your menstrual cycle to take the test, but that you follow the directions properly and use a test that is not expired.