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Is the Pregnancy Test Positive When the Line is Lighter?

Is the Pregnancy Test Positive When the Line is Lighter?

If you are like most women in Australia, you want to get accurate results every time you take a pregnancy test. The key to attaining this is to follow the outlined instructions and test at the right time. This way, you will eliminate doubts once you are ready to read the results.

The pregnancy test kits you use to determine if you are pregnant are designed to check the presence of the pregnancy hormone hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotrophin). The pregnancy hormone’s presence in the body only occurs after conception, and as the pregnancy progresses, the hCG levels will increase, making it easier for the tests to detect it. 

If you are using a test kit that shows two lines and notice that one line is faint, you might wonder if the result is still a positive pregnancy test result. This post will clarify why you may see a lighter line after taking a pregnancy test to ensure women in Australia and around the world don’t get confused or worry about their results.

pregnancy midstream positive pregnancy test
How light can a positive pregnancy test be?

Reading pregnancy test results

Pregnancy test kits available in Australia come with various features, and each feature offers different information.

Pregnancy test lines

Most of the pregnancy kits you will use today have two lines that indicate the kit is working along with the detection of hCG in your urine. 

The results window, which is also the test indicator window, has two lines.  One line shows that the test you are using is working correctly (control line), while the second one is the actual test line that reveals if you have hCG in your body, indicating pregnancy.

Some tests also have a separate window for the control panel, so each line will be on a separate window. The pregnancy test instructions provided with the hCG test provided on the test explain which line is the control and test line.

Does pregnancy test line progression matter?

As you take a pregnancy test, it is essential to remember that a line on the test window is considered a positive result even if it looks lighter than the control line. Usually, the darker line is the control line, so if the test line appears to be faint, you shouldn’t assume that the test is not working as expected or conclude that you are not pregnant.  

The chances are that when you took the test, the hCG hormone levels were still low but enough to trigger the test and confirm the pregnancy. As the days go by, the levels of hCG increase, so when you take another test, you will notice that the test line is dark like the control line. Therefore if you see a second line, no matter how faint it is, you should read the result as a positive one, provided it is not an evaporation line.

How to Avoid a Pregnancy Test Errors

Reading the results – Read the test results in the correct time window as mentioned in the instructions. If you wait to read the results later, some changes may occur and increase the chances of an evap line, leading to incorrect results. 

Pregnancy test expirationThere’s the chance that the test kit has expired. So before you buy a pregnancy test kit, be sure to confirm the expiration date, particularly if you’re buying in bulk. Also, if you had already bought a pregnancy test kit a while ago, check the expiration date before using it. An expired test will probably feel or look like a regular one, but the result may be compromised.

Following the instructionsMost pregnancy test kit manufacturers also provide examples of pregnancy test results in the instruction section. The examples given on the box or instructions are merely examples. Anything you see on the test window other than a blank should be considered positive, even if the line is faint. 

positive pregnancy test result
Interpretation of results on our Pregnancy Test Strips

What you can do when uncertain

If you are still unsure of the pregnancy test results, you may consider the following options – wait and retest after some days or visit your health care provider or midwife to get a blood test done in their office. If you tested too early, you should consider waiting for some days before retesting, and this is the best option if you test early before missing your periods.

Most pregnancy test instructions will recommend waiting for about a week before taking another test. This way, you’ll allow your body to build up more hCG if you are pregnant.

How to avoid faint lines on your pregnancy test

You can consider several solutions to avoid uncertainties that come with faint lines. Some of them are outlined below.

Go digital – using a digital pregnancy test will eliminate any uncertainties since the results will be spelled out for you, and you won’t have to worry about reading faint lines.

Adhere to the instructions – whether you are using a digital or standard pregnancy test kit, you will need to follow the outlined directions. Various tests have different sensitivities (the level of hCG the kit can detect), so you can use some to test before missing periods and others after the missed periods. If you are too eager and cannot wait to miss your periods, use the test meant for that job.

Avoid taking too much liquid –consuming a lot of drinks, even water, before taking a pregnancy test will dilute your pregnancy hormone levels, leading to faint lines. So avoid this at all costs to get more precise results.

Test early in the morning – the best way to check if you are pregnant is to use the early morning urine to test. These samples will have the highest hCG concentrations if you are pregnant, so your results will be reliable.

Can a hardly visible result be negative?

Barely visible results don’t mean that the results are negative since the test has already detected the pregnancy hormone. However, it may sometimes indicate a false positive or an early pregnancy loss, and it’s also possible to get a false negative result.

Here are instances you may see a faint test line on a test window, but you have not conceived or have a nonviable pregnancy:

  • Menopause. Whenever a woman who is in menopause or perimenopause misses her periods and takes a test, the outcome may be positive. Abnormally elevated luteinising hormone levels cause this.
  • Early pregnancy loss. You may get a false-positive result if you have an ectopic pregnancy, recent chemical pregnancy, or any other form of early pregnancy loss. This occurs because the pregnancy hormone that the body was building up is still in the body, so until it clears, you will get a false-positive result.
  • Fertility medications & other prescriptions. Sometimes false positives occur when your body has some traces of fertility medications or other hCG medicines. So, if you got an hCG injection for your fertility care routine, the levels of this hormone can remain high for several days and will be detectable even if you are not pregnant.

Clearly, it’s safe to say that faint lines on pregnancy results mean that you are pregnant. However, you may get a false positive if you do a test after taking some fertility medications, chemical pregnancy, or during menopause. So, make sure you follow all the directions and interpret the results correctly. If you are in doubt, you can always get a blood test done by your doctor.