How reliable is the home pregnancy test?
So, you think you are pregnant….maybe. We’ve all heard about home pregnancy tests (yes, pee on a stick etc etc), but just how reliable are they? Is a faint positive pregnancy test still positive?
These days the home pregnancy test is pretty accurate (like, accurate 99% of the time when done correctly), and it is most accurate if taken after you have already missed a period. Of course, you need to follow the directions on the pack and make sure you are not using an expired test kit for the most reliable result. Having said all that, they do sometimes come back with a false positive or false negative result (when there doesn’t seem to be a positive line or you are unsure whether you can see a faint positive line), particularly when taken too soon.
How the pregnancy test works
The pregnancy tests work by testing for the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in your urine, which is only produced by your body when pregnant. The levels of HCG are different for everybody and every pregnancy. The higher the levels of HCG in your body, the easier it is for the test to detect and display. Low levels of HCG (very early in pregnancy) are harder to detect and will mean the “positive” line can be very faint, sometimes not really visible at all.
If you have a positive pregnancy test then you can be pretty confident that you are pregnant. If the test comes back negative or you think maybe…perhaps…sort of… there could be a faint positive line there, it is possible that the levels of HCG have not reached a high enough concentration yet to be detected properly by the test and you may want to wait another week or two and retake the test (a week after your period was due, or three weeks after unprotected sex, is usually sufficient). At this point any positive result should be very definitely positive, not faint at all, as the levels of HCG in your body ought to be high enough to be easily detected.
What do I do if it comes back as a positive pregnancy test?
If you have a positive pregnancy tests it is a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor and have a check-up and a chat about your test result at this point. They will probably want to do some blood tests to confirm those results and to check your health generally.
What do I do if it comes back negative, but I think it’s wrong?
If you have a negative test result but have reason to believe it is incorrect, it is definitely a good time to head to the doctor and have a check-up and a chat about your test results. They are the person best placed to help you with any next steps.
Medical disclaimer: Tips provided need to be considered in conjunction with medical advice. For immediate concerns, please contact HealthDirect (Australia wide) ph 1800 022 222 to talk to a registered nurse 24hrs a day, and in emergencies call 000
We asked Australian mums about their experiences with home pregnancy tests.
You are not alone! If you think you may be pregnant and are wondering about faint positive results on a home pregnancy test, the Baby Hints and Tips community is standing by to share their experiences and put your mind at ease. We asked our community about their experiences with faint lines on home pregnancy tests and here’s what they had to say.
Question: Hello, for all of you who got a ‘faint line’ on a hpt, how faint was ‘faint’? Did the faint positive pregnancy test result in a positive test later on?
Note hpt means home pregnancy test.
- Faint line and I was pregnant
- Quite faint line and yes positive
- I had a test done at the doctors and it was faint faint, like barely there faint, had a blood test and came back positive. A few weeks later I went for an ultrasound and turns out I was 11 weeks and that was with pregnancy #3.. good luck 🙂
- Yep, very faint here… It was only 3.5 weeks. Surprisingly, I never retested just believed it. Congrats on your pregnancy!
- Most people mistake evaporation lines for a positive result. I had faint lines but they were all positive. If you have a faint line, retest in a week & it should be clearer as the HCG hormone would be stronger
- With all three of mine I knew straight away. I did a test each time, they were all extremely faint and yes all turned out to be positive. With my third I went for a blood test because the result was so faint and the result came back negative, four weeks later when I still didn’t get my monthly’s I took another test and sure enough it was positive!
- All three of mine have been very faint and positive… Each one I was around 5-7 weeks along… Good luck
- A positive is a positive, no matter how faint, there are only false negatives 🙂 congrats!!
- I don’t have heaps of experience as I’ve only had one positive pregnancy test before and it was a definite clear line. But my most relevant question would be how early are you/would you be? If its still first couple of weeks and not due for period yet then may very well be faint in my understanding. As the hormone levels increase the reading should become more definite. Please feel free to correct me if I’m wrong ‘cos I would love to know for next time 🙂 But then the baby comments suggest definite positive YAY!
- I had a faint line with my test but always buy a 2 pack. This test was done late afternoon and when I retested in the morning it was a darker more definite positive. I’d suggest testing with first wee or wait a few days to retest. Good luck
- Yes both kids faint and yes was pregnant
- I had very, very faint positive but I knew I was pregnant before testing, just had the feeling.. and I tested 3 days before my period was due.. Now have an 8mo beautiful boy, congrats!!!
- Faint of any sort means positive. Go get a blood test.
- With the pregnancy test, I had faint lines for both 1st time round I was only 3wks pregnant & second time round I was 4wks so both have been really faint & resulted in pregnancy 🙂 congrats if you are!
- Mine was barely visible but tested a few days later and it was very obvious. DD is now 4 months old! 🙂
- Very faint…barely visible. Looked like a little shadow or something. But definitely pregnant! Almost 17 weeks now 🙂 I did a test a week after the faint one and it came up positive right away and dark as anything, so its probably just really early.
- I had a super faint line. Had to look at every angle with different sets of eyes. But yes I was pregnant.
- I have had the same thing, looks like a shadow, and can see it easily in daylight at different angles. There’s definitely something there but I’m thinking it could be a ‘shadow’ or ‘evaporation’ line. Of course, it was a positive for you but has anyone else had an evaporation line instead of a positive? I used a Pregnosis strip in the pink box.
- Four pregnancies and 4 very faint lines. I think it’s just because your hormone levels are still so low in early pregnancy, and that’s what brings up the line. You’d probably want to confirm again in a day or two. (I did daily tests for days!)
- Take another test in two days….your hormones should have increased so there’s more of a line (if it is really positive). I think evaporation lines are generally only a problem if you read the test after 10 minutes have passed. I figure that if there is some kind of mark in the ‘positive’ window, then it’s positive…I’ve never had any trouble reading a negative test lol!
- Faint line and no, I was not pregnant
- I had a positive pregnancy test faint line, it was just noticeable. I wasn’t pregnant, it took me 2 1/2 months and lots of home pregnancy tests after that to actually be pregnant