Pregnant despite negative test? – FERTILA
If a woman takes a pregnancy test, she assumes that the test will show the correct result: one line for a negative result, two lines for an existing pregnancy.
However, the test cannot always be relied upon. We give you an overview of common pregnancy tests and the reliability of the results, whether positive or negative.
What types of pregnancy tests are there?
The classic home pregnancy test is the urine test. The test is freely available in drugstores or pharmacies individually or in bulk packs and can be carried out from the first day or two after the missed period.
If you don’t want to wait until then, you can also take an early pregnancy test. The early test can show before the actual menstruation whether a woman is pregnant or whether the result is negative.
Urine tests are available as test strips and as test sticks. Especially women with an unfulfilled desire to have children often use the test strips for cost reasons.
If the number of tests is small, two bars mean not pregnant and one bar means pregnant. The statements can easily be misinterpreted.
There are also digital pregnancy tests – the most well-known being the Clearblue pregnancy test. “Pregnant” or “not pregnant” are shown very clearly on the display. Modern tests can also determine in which week the pregnant woman is already.
Another way to detect pregnancy is a blood test. The blood test is carried out by the gynecologist or in the fertility center and can also provide information about pregnancy very early on, before the onset or absence of the period.
Because this test involves laboratory analysis and is therefore rather time-consuming, it is only carried out if the test result is uncertain or if patients are at risk.
How does a pregnancy test work?
Both urine and blood tests measure the level of hCG in the blood.
Normally, non-pregnant women and men have up to 5 IU/litre of hCG in their bodies. When an egg cell has been fertilized and implants itself in the uterus, the concentration of the pregnancy hormone hCG rises sharply. The body reacts to conception and prepares for the upcoming pregnancy.
If the pregnancy is normal, the value is up to 50 IU/litre from the third week after fertilization. From about the fourth week, the value has already increased to 400 IU/litre.
hCG can only be detected in the urine much later than in the blood – around 14 days after ovulation and fertilization. Despite this, urine tests also rely solely on this value as an indication that a woman is pregnant and expecting a child.
How are pregnancy tests used correctly?
After the first signs of pregnancy or the absence of a monthly period, many women buy a test stick or strip.
A urine test should be carried out at rest and, if necessary, with the support of an attendant. SS tests can detect increased hCG from a concentration of 25 IU/litre. It is therefore no longer absolutely necessary to use morning urine to determine the hCG value.
The swab or strip must be held directly in the urine and should remain there for about 10 to 20 seconds. A result can be read after five minutes at the latest.
Careful and conscious study of the package insert helps to avoid a false test result.
Blood tests are used by the gynecologist or in the laboratory. The beta-HCG value can be determined particularly early. Not only pregnancy is determined, but also the exact week.
Despite a positive urine test, some doctors also carry out the blood test. However, this option is mainly aimed at high-risk pregnant women or women with an unfulfilled desire to have children.
How safe is a pregnancy test?
The most well-known pregnancy test brands indicate a security of around 90 to 99 percent. The reliability of the result – whether positive or negative – increases over time. In the case of pregnancy, hCG increases over time.
In any case, you should have a positive test clarified in more detail. But even a negative test must be discussed with the gynecologist if signs of pregnancy persist. Because you can still be pregnant.
What are the reasons for a negative test result?
A test can be negative despite an existing pregnancy. The reasons for an incorrect result can be of different nature.
A negative test often results from incorrect use or storage. It is important to store an SS test at room temperature. The expiry date must also be checked before use.
It is just as important not to take the test too early if you want the test result to be correct.
After removing the swab or strip from the urine, not too early or too late, the end result should be correct. Even a very light and thin second line can mean positive and should not be mistakenly interpreted as negative.
A false negative pregnancy test is much more common than a positive pregnancy test that actually turns out to be negative. Application errors are easily avoidable.
When does the pregnancy test falsely show a positive result?
False positive results are extremely rare, but still possible. For example, a woman who was recently pregnant and lost her child through miscarriage may have a positive result.
There is also a specific type of ovarian cyst called corpus luteum cysts, which produce the hormone hCG and trick the body into thinking it is pregnant.
Taking the pill does not affect the results of pregnancy tests. On the one hand, this means that pregnancy can be detected despite the pill and, on the other hand, that the test with urine or blood does not show a false negative.
If the result is positive or there are other signs, an appointment with the doctor should be made to be on the safe side.
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