A home pregnancy test is the first thing a woman does after missing her periods. There are many things one needs to know about pregnancy test before taking it as true. A negative pregnancy test comes like heartbreak for any woman who wants to be a mom. But in many cases, it is a false negative pregnancy test. A false negative pregnancy test is more common than a false positive pregnancy test.
Table of Contents
What is a negative pregnancy test (NPT)?
A negative pregnancy test is the pregnancy test result which shows that you are not pregnant.
What is a false negative pregnancy test (PT)?
A false negative pregnancy test is when you are pregnant, yet you get a negative PT result.
How does a pregnancy test work?
Let’s first understand how a pregnancy test works to know the reasons for a negative pregnancy result.
- A pregnancy test has antibodies for hCG hormone particles.
- The hCG hormone comes in the urine of a woman after she is pregnant.
- The antibodies are detector particles, and they can detect hCG in your urine.
- Color indicates the presence of hCG, and if hCG is not present, then one gets a negative pregnancy test.
How to read a negative pregnancy test?
A negative pregnancy test is only a single line which shows that you’re not pregnant. If you see a single line or a minus sign, then it is a negative pregnancy test.
Some kits show minus sign in the result window. Others don’t have a test line to show negative pregnancy test.
Top 20 Reasons For A Negative Pregnancy Test
The reasons for getting a negative pregnancy test are:
- Low levels of hCG: If your body is producing low levels of hCG even after implantation then you will get a negative pregnancy test. There is nothing to worry about unless you have other symptoms like breakout bleeding or cramps. All of us are different and so our bodies. Some women keep ovulating and getting their periods even after three months during their pregnancy.
- Using Diluted urine: If you use a dilute urine sample, then your hCG levels will get diluted. Hence, you will get a negative pregnancy test result. If you use your afternoon or evening urine sample, the hCG will not be enough in it, and therefore you will get a negative pregnancy test. It will be a false negative pregnancy test if you are expecting.
- Defective pregnancy test: If the pregnancy test is faulty or damaged, it will give a negative pregnancy test. The absence of the control line shows that pregnancy test is not working. A defective pregnancy test doesn’t produce a control line.
- Not following the instructions on a pregnancy test: A pregnancy test needs your attention and a minimalistic skill for testing your pregnancy. Every pregnancy test is different, and so are its instructions for testing pregnancy. The time for reading tests, dipping the hCG strip, etc. differ slightly. Hence, it is probable that if you miss out any steps during taking the pregnancy test you can get a negative pregnancy test.
- Chemical pregnancy: A tubal pregnancy or chemical pregnancy is the condition when your pregnancy is not sustainable. It happens when the embryo doesn’t get implanted in your womb and instead moves to other places. Implantation of the embryo in the womb is essential for its survival. So you might be chemically pregnant, but hCG won’t be enough. It will give you a negative pregnancy test.
- Use of certain medications and drugs: Medications such as anti-epileptic drugs, diuretics, promethazine, etc. interfere with the pregnancy test. They give you a false pregnancy test. These drugs block the normal reactions of the pregnancy test and hence can show both false negative or positive pregnancy test.
- Misinterpretation of evaporation lines: If you confuse a faint positive pregnancy test as evaporation line then you will assume that it is a negative pregnancy test. However, evaporation lines appear only as a result of errors and are not normal.
- Using an expired pregnancy test: An expired pregnancy test has crossed its lifespan, and the antibodies have expired. Once the antibodies are not functional, then they won’t be able to detect hCG resulting in a negative pregnancy test.
- Reading the results after the time gives negative pregnancy test: One has to read a pregnancy test within a given time slot. Once the result reading time has crossed, then the results of the pregnancy test are no longer reliable. Sometimes after the reading time is over the pregnancy test results might disappear. It means a false negative pregnancy test.
- Hormonal imbalance: Hormones influence level of one another. There is a complex feedback mechanism involved. If a woman has a high level of other reproductive hormones or prolactin, then she will get a negative PT. After all, a pregnancy test works relying on the presence of hCG hormone in your urine. A hormone imbalance will not allow proper functioning of the pregnancy test and give a negative pregnancy test.
- Taking the test too early: Taking the pregnancy test at the right time is the first thing for getting an accurate PT result. If a woman takes her pregnancy test too early after having sex, then she can get a negative pregnancy test. This can head to become a false negative pregnancy test is she had conceived or a true negative pregnancy test if she did not.
- Not applying enough sample of urine: If you don’t put a sufficient amount of urine then again there won’t be enough hCG, and the test result will be negative.
- Improper orientation of pregnancy test kit: It is essential to place pregnancy test in the right orientation. Pregnancy tests need different directions like horizontal or vertical. If you don’t place the pregnancy test correctly, then the urine will not rise resulting in a negative PT result.
- Improper storage of pregnancy test kit: Never refrigerate a pregnancy test. If you place it in a refrigerator, the functioning might get hampered. The moisture in a fridge will affect the pregnancy test. So an improperly stored pregnancy test can give you a negative pregnancy test.
- Contaminating the hCG strip by touching: An hCG strip has extremely sensitive antibodies. These detect the hormone in your urine. If hand touches the strip, you may get a false pregnancy test result. If the strip gets contaminated and breaks the capillary action, urine won’t rise properly.
- Not being pregnant: The most obvious reason for getting a negative pregnancy test is that you are not pregnant. You might be mistaking the symptoms of some other medical condition as pregnancy. It is vital that you can differentiate between PMS and early pregnancy symptoms for making the right conclusions.
- Infertility: An infertile woman cannot normally conceive without any artificial assistance. So if you are infertile, then you will get a negative pregnancy test. If you are between 25 – 30 years and are not able to conceive normally even after trying for a year, then you need to consult an infertility expert.
- Taking caffeine: Caffeine and some illegal drugs might affect your urine contents. The liver detoxifies these substances and then the waste and toxins which pass off for excretion. If these come along with your urine, then you may get a negative pregnancy test.
- Using a less sensitive pregnancy test: A pregnancy test is sensitive to a particular minimum concentration of hCG. The lower the level of hCG hormone detectable by a pregnancy test the higher sensitivity it has. If you use a less sensitive pregnancy test, then you will get a negative pregnancy test.
- Continual use of birth control: A birth control doesn’t affect your pregnancy test, but it does alter your hormonal balance. So while birth control might not interfere with your PT result but it will influence pregnancy.