False-Negative Pregnancy Tests
At Your Options Medical, we have found that when many of our patients have a negative pregnancy test result, they assume they are not pregnant. However, this is not always the case. False negative pregnancy tests do occur. Here is how it works:
A urine pregnancy test detects the hormone called hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin). This is the hormone your body produces during pregnancy. When urine is being tested for the presence of this hCG hormone and a woman is pregnant, the result of the pregnancy test should read positive. However, there are a few reasons a pregnancy test can give a false test result including the following:
- In early pregnancy, the hCG hormone levels may be too low for a pregnancy test to detect. The earliest time to test for an accurate result is 7-10 days after a missed period.
- The best time of day to take a pregnancy test is first thing in the morning when a woman’s urine is highly concentrated. Because urine may be less concentrated later in the day, the test may not be able to detect the hCG hormone.
- If you have had a negative pregnancy test, but are experiencing pregnancy-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, tiredness, loss of appetite, etc. it is always best to contact your doctor to access for causes unrelated to pregnancy.
- There is always the possibility of human error when performing home pregnancy tests. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Most pregnancy tests require you to let the test set for 3-5 minutes. If the test is left beyond the recommended set time, this could produce a false test result.
- If you had a tubal ligation (i.e. tubes tied), are experiencing pregnancy-like symptoms, and test negative on a pregnancy test, contact your medical doctor to assess for causes unrelated to pregnancy.
If you think you might be pregnant because you have missed your period, know that there are other reasons besides pregnancy. To learn more, check out our blog.
If you think you might be pregnant, Your Options Medical can offer you pregnancy testing, ultrasound, and pregnancy options counseling at no cost to you and insurance is not required.