Can I Have a Positive Pregnancy Test and Not Be Pregnant?

Positive Pregnancy Test

Can I REALLY have a positive result on a pregnancy test and not actually be pregnant?

Most of our patients assume that if they took a pregnancy test and the result was positive that they are obviously pregnant. However, that may not always be the case. This may sound crazy but just hang on while we explain.

The goal of a urine pregnancy test is to test the urine for a hormone called hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin). This is the hormone your body produces during pregnancy. When urine is placed into a pregnancy test, it is being tested for the presence of this hCG hormone. If hCG is detected in the urine sample, the result of the pregnancy test should read with a positive result.

So how can you get a positive result on a pregnancy test if you are not actually pregnant? Well, when a woman is in the process of miscarrying a baby or has just recently miscarried her baby, the hCG hormone is still present in her body. This can cause a false result on a pregnancy test. Also, if a woman has recently given birth the hCG hormone typically remains in her body until 3-4 weeks after giving birth.

So the only way to confirm if you are actually pregnant after having received a positive test result on a pregnancy test is through ultrasound. The ultrasound scan can confirm pregnancy by detecting the following items:

  1. A gestational sac (a sac of fluid that surrounds the baby in early pregnancy prior to the placenta forming).
  2. The presence of a measurable fetal heartbeat.
  3. If the pregnancy is developing within the uterus. If pregnancy is developing outside of the uterus, called an ectopic or tubal pregnancy, immediate medical attention is required.

If you or someone you know has recently taken a pregnancy test and received a positive result, be sure to get an ultrasound prior to making any decisions. The truth is, there may not even be a need to make a decision. To learn more about ultrasound, check out our blog.

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