Home pregnancy tests have helped millions of women, so it’s hard for us to knock them. But when your period is late and the test in your hand is negative, you may be left more confused than before.
No period, not pregnant: What does it mean?
The rollercoaster of emotions that come with taking a pregnancy test is often stressful, but don’t give up just yet. Here’s what it means to have no period for a while and still not be pregnant.
Reasons why a test could be wrong
Here are a couple reasons why you may have received a false negative.
Taken before the first missed period: Pregnancy tests work by detecting levels of human chorionic gonadotropin, hCG, a hormone that the body starts to make when an egg has been fertilized. Because the tests look for the presence of this hormone, it is possible that they miss the hormone in the very early stages of pregnancy, mainly in the days leading up to the first missed period. For the most accurate readings, it’s best to wait until at least the missed period, if not a few days after.
- Fluids diluting urine: Yes, you should still be drinking lots of water! But taking a pregnancy test later in the day can sometimes mean that urine is diluted and hCG is more difficult for the test to detect. The hormone levels are highest in the morning too, so for the most accurate results try to take the test as early in the day as possible, preferably right after you wake up.
- Test directions not followed correctly: We don’t mean to suggest that you would miss a step . . . but could you have missed a step? Some tests require waiting a specific amount of time before reading the results. Pregnancy tests also have an expiration date, so we recommend buying new ones as opposed to using old ones that could be in your house.
Ultimately, it’s always a good idea to read and closely follow the directions on home pregnancy tests, even if you consider yourself a pro by now. There’s also always the possibility that the negative test is accurate, and your period is simply a few days late. Home pregnancy tests are great, but after a positive result, it’s still important to visit your healthcare provider for a blood test to confirm.
- “Pregnancy test.” MedlinePlus. US National Library of Medicine, Oct 4 2016. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003432.htm.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Home pregnancy tests: Can you trust the results?” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Dec 2015. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/home-pregnancy-tests/art-20047940.