Pregnancy tests are a reliable inexpensive way to find out if you're pregnant. Unexpired tests usually work with 99% accuracy. But since everything man-made is fallible, sometimes they don't always give accurate readings.
Unless you have a digital or plus/minus pregnancy test, there are two possible results: one line or two. One line means not pregnant. Two lines means pregnant. Sometimes there's a third result, a second faint line called a false positive.
When that happens, you might wonder what that means. Since no one wants to deal with uncertainty regarding a possible pregnancy, we've compiled 10 possible reasons why you might get a faint positive result.
10 The Pregnancy Test Is Old
Pregnancy tests work by indicating whether or not your urine contains human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced by pregnant women. An old or expired test might not accurately gauge whether or not the hormone is present.
This can lead to false negatives or, more common, faint positives. When you're dealing with something as serious as a possible pregnancy, you want to be as sure as humanly possible that your result reflect what's going on with your body. Forgo the expired test, and wait until you can get your hands on a fresh one
9 The Pregnancy Test Has Been Out Too Long
A pregnancy test that shows a faint positive might have been left out for too long. Most traditional tests are supposed to sit for one to ten minutes (depending on the brand), in order to produce a reading.
This gives it enough time to register whether or not the hCG hormone is present in your urine. If you allow it to sit longer than that, the urine might evaporate. This might result in a faint positive line.
8 You Had A Chemical Pregnancy
Faint positive tests also happen when you've had a chemical pregnancy, which is a miscarriage that occurred during the early weeks of the pregnancy.
Chemical pregnancies, which make up a significant percentage of all miscarriages, don't always come with obvious symptoms. Sometimes, no symptoms present themselves as at all, which means the woman might not even know she was ever pregnant.
After a chemical pregnancy, it takes time for the body's hCG levels to go back time. So if a pregnancy test is taken during this window, it's possible that a faint positive could occur.
7 You Might Be Dealing With A Health Issue
Health issues, especially those that affect the endocrine system (which is responsible for creating and regulating hormones) might also be the culprit for faint positive tests. Since pregnancy tests work by detecting whether or not a woman has hCG in her body, the health issue might trigger a faint positive test result
Kidney disease also causes protein and blood to leak into the urine. Pregnancy tests have been known to mistake this protein for hGC. In rare cases, positive and faint positive tests have indicated that a woman was dealing with cervical cancer. In an even rarer case, a man, who peed on a pregnancy test as a joke, found that his positive reading was due to testicular cancer.
6 You Re-used An Old Cup
Different pregnancy tests come with different instructions. Some tests instruct you to hold the stick in a cup of your urine. When this happens, it's best to use a different, preferably disposable cup, each time.
If your cup isn't disposable, cleaning it might not be enough for you to get clean results. Pregnancy tests require such small samples of urine, that anything left over in the cup from before might affect your results. Especially, if you've previously gotten a positive result in the past.
5 You're On Fertility Drugs
Fertility drugs work by triggering ovulation in women. For women who have trouble getting pregnant, these drugs can be godsends.
Being on fertility drugs can, unfortunately, be a double-edged sword. Hopeful mothers usually test themselves frequently so that they can find out if the drugs are working. However, the drugs, many of which contain hCG, can sometimes cause false results.
4 You Recently Had An Abortion
Faint positive results might also be caused by abortions. An abortion terminates a pregnancy, but your body doesn't immediately go back to normal.
It takes a few days for the body's hormone levels to return to normal So if you've recently had an abortion then take a pregnancy test, you might get a faint positive result.
3 You're Pregnant, But It's Too Early
If you take a pregnancy test too early in your pregnancy, you might get a faint positive result. A woman's hGC levels are produced by the placenta that develops once pregnancy occurs. It starts being produced almost immediately, but it takes time for the levels within the body to rise.
The earliest that hCG levels can be detected is between 11-14 days after conception. hCG levels are at their strongest by the end of the first trimester. Then, they will fall and remain steady until it's time to deliver the baby. If you take a pregnancy test before then, you might get a negative result, or possibly, a faint positive.
2 You've Had An Ectopic Pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. Ectopic pregnanices can cause internal bleeding and death, so they're considered medical emergencies, which have to be corrected through surgery.
Unfortunately, this means all of these pregnancies end in termination. If you take a pregnancy test after having an ectopic pregnancy, you may get a faint positive result. But this doesn't mean you're still pregnant.
1 You're Pregnant
If you're noticed a pattern, most faint positives are influenced by a pregnancy of some sort. Either you were pregnant, but for one reason or another, aren't anymore. Or, your results were tainted by an old cup, when you had a positive result in the past.
Sometimes, a faint positive test simply means that you're pregnant. Whether or not you were planning on the pregnancy, it can be an overwhelming time, so lean on your support system, be it friends or family members. That's what they're there for.