Faint Line On Pregnancy Test: Important Facts & Steps To Follow

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In instances where you find a faint line on a pregnancy test done at home, you might be unsure whether you are pregnant or not. Normally, two pink lines in the test indicate pregnancy, while one indicates its absence.

The appearance of a faint line during the test becomes confusing, but there may be several reasons for it to appear. It may indicate pregnancy or even miscarriage. However, you don’t need to worry about it before taking the test again after a few days. If the results remain the same, you might consider talking to a healthcare provider.

Read the post to understand the details about home pregnancy tests, steps to perform the test, and reasons for the faint pink line to appear.

Important Facts About Pregnancy Test

Let us check out, some informative facts about pregnancy tests and how does it work:

  • Pregnancy tests work by detecting a special hormone in your blood or urine. The typical hormone is hCG human chorionic gonadotropin. Your body produces the hCG hormone when the fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall.
  • The two basic types of pregnancy tests recommended are blood and urine (home test). The quantitative blood test diagnoses early pregnancy more accurate and faster than qualitative blood or urine test.
  • Most of the home pregnancy test analysis your urine and detects the presence of hCG in your urine stream. After few minutes when a line appears on the indicating panel, it clearly indicates about positive pregnancy.
  • In case of early pregnancy, if the line appears faint you can take the test after few weeks again.
  • Home pregnancy tests are more or less accurate. Some of the pregnancy test kits appear more sensitive than the others.
  • Sensitive home pregnancy test detects positive pregnancy even on the first day of missed period.
  • Sometimes the pregnancy test shows negative result even if you are pregnant. In such scenario, wait for another week and repeat the test. Intake of medications or alcohols interferes with the test and imposes to show a negative result.
  • Read the test instructions carefully before using the home pregnancy test kit all by yourself.
  • The best time to take the pregnancy test is during the early morning. During the morning, the urine remains concentrated, and the presence of hCG is typically high.
  • Testing too early after your missing period leads to false negative test. According to numerous researchers, 9 out of 15 women receive a false pregnancy results until they reach up to seven to eight weeks of pregnancy.
  • All home pregnancy tests contain the display box showing a color line to indicate whether the test is working or not. A second color line appears when the test indicates the presence of the hCG hormone in urine. Even if a faint line appears, it is still considered a positive sign. It is suggested to retake the test within two to three days after consulting your gynecologist because a faint line might also suggest an ectopic pregnancy.
  • If your pregnancy test shows positive results, book an appointment with the gynecologist and get requisite advice (1).

Why Take A Home Pregnancy Test?

There are numerous benefits of taking a home pregnancy test:

  • The pregnancy test kit checks the hormone hCG level in your urine and enables you to know about the status of your pregnancy in advance.
  • When you plan to conceive, it is not possible to rush every time to the doctor for detection of pregnancy status. By using the home pregnancy test kit, it becomes very simple to test the presence of hormone level in your urine.
  • The home pregnancy test kit allows taking the pregnancy test in the privacy and comfort of your home.
  • The best time to take the pregnancy test in during the first pee in the morning, when your hormone concentration is highest.
  • The best feature of the pregnancy test is the immediacy of the results. The kit displays the result with less than three minutes (2).

Steps To Take A Home Pregnancy Test

All pregnancy tests are pretty much the same, and the only thing that differs from brand to brand is the sensitivity of the test kit. Let us check the detailed steps to conduct a home pregnancy test:

  • The home pregnancy test kit is available in two designs. In first types, the kit consists of the strip while other contains a urine container.
  • You have to pass your urination on the strip directly or hold the tip of the strip dipped into the urine container.
  • Wait for few minutes as indicated on the manufacturer’s instruction leaflet and then read the results.
  • The amount of time you wait for the result solely depends upon the instructions provided with the test kit.
  • If two bold lines appear on the display panel, it clearly indicates a positive result. But if the second line appears faint, you surely need to conduct the test after few days (3).

Understanding Faint Line On A Pregnancy Test

A faint line on your pregnancy test indicates the low count of the hormone (hCG) in your urine stream. Due to less or sometimes extremely high (as in an ectopic pregnancy) concentration of the hCG hormone, the line appears faint and not clearly visible. The special hormone hCG is usually present in your urine when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterus. But during early pregnancy, the hormone level is low, and the home pregnancy test kit cannot detect the presence of the hormone in your urine. Hence, you can see a faint line on the pregnancy test. (3).

Reasons To See Faint Line On Pregnancy Test

There are multiple reasons for which the home pregnancy tests show faint lines instead of the bold ones. Here we discuss some of the common reasons for which you might see a faint pregnancy line:

Failure To Follow The Instructions Vividly:

  • When you fail to follow the instructions mentioned on the pregnancy test kit properly, the test happens to show inaccurate results.
  • If you do not allow adequate time for the test result and read the results too early, you can see faint lines. It is very important to devote the allotted time and then check the results on the display box.
  • Reading the test results before or after the time slot leaves evaporation lines, and they appear faint and pale in color.

Testing Too Early:

  • Detection of a pregnancy test in extreme early phase of conceiving is one of the most common reasons to see faint lines.
  • Home pregnancy test detects the levels of the hCG hormone in your urine stream and then signifies the results. During the first week of pregnancy, the level of hCG hormone is extremely low and undetectable. As the test kit diagnoses small percentage of the hCG hormone, the line appears faint.
  • It is better to conduct the pregnancy test not earlier than ten days after ovulation or one week after having your missed period. During this period, the home pregnancy test kit easily detects the hormone and shows accurate results.

Miscalculating Your Expected Period:

  • You may fail to miscalculate your period days and conduct the test on inappropriate days. It often leads to faint lines on a pregnancy test.
  • It is better to keep a note of both basal body temperature BBT charting and your menstrual cycle. It becomes easier to remember the important dates and eradicate all confusions.

Diluted Urine:

  • Although you can use the home pregnancy test at any point of time, but it is advisable to perform the test during early mornings. The concentration of hCG hormone remains higher during this period, and the test easily detects the presence of the hormone in your urine.
  • If you conduct the test in some other time, the urine remains in diluted condition and contains less percentage of hCG hormone. The test kit hardly detects the presence of the hormone and the line appears faint.

Pregnancy Test Sensitivity:

  • Some of the pregnancy test kits appear more sensitive than the other.
  • Some of the home pregnancy test kits detect the status of pregnancy with the hCG level as low as 20 mIU.
  • Other pregnancy test kits require the hCG hormone level of more than 100 mIU to detect pregnancy.
  • Hence, the sensitive pregnancy test kit shows bolder line, whereas the lesser sensitive ones end up showing faint lines.
  • Very high hCG concentration, as in an ectopic pregnancy, might confuse you with a faint line on the pregnancy kit accompanied by abdominal pain and spotting symptoms.

Expired Pregnancy Test:

  • Always check the expiration date mentioned on the pregnancy test kit and the storage instructions.
  • If you store the pregnancy test kit inappropriately or use an expired test kit, you can get negative results and test works inaccurately.

Evaporation Lines:

  • When your urine evaporates from the pregnancy test, the line appears faint and not clearly visible.
  • The faint line appears in the place, where the positive result normally appears to indicate about positive pregnancy status.
  • Evaporation lines are not clearly visible by normal eyes and they appear as a shadow.

Reading Test Results After Manufacturer’s Recommended Time:

  • You may observe a faint line when you do not read the test results within the manufacturer’s recommended time frame.
  • The home pregnancy test is extremely sensitive one, and the result persists for only a few seconds.
  • It is advisable to read the test results within mentioned time frame to know about the accurate status of pregnancy.

Chemical Reaction:

  • Due to certain chemical reactions, our body produce hCG hormone but that does not develop in a normal pregnancy.
  • During an early miscarriage, the chemical reaction occurs in your body, and the test shows faint lines.
  • Pregnancies with complications and miscarriages possess lower than the expected level of hCG levels. When the faint line pregnancy test turns out negative after few days, then you possibly went through a chemical pregnancy. Almost 40% of chemical pregnancy ends up with miscarriages.

Certain Medications:

  • Intake of certain medications such as Thorazine or fertility drugs induces the presence of hCG hormones in your body.
  • Due to the presence of the hCG hormone in your urine stream the test indicates a false positive result and the faint lines appear on the home pregnancy test.

Does A Faint Line On Pregnancy Test Indicate Positive Pregnancy?

Home pregnancy test shows positive results when it detects the presence of hCG hormone easily in your urine. However, the sensitivity of the pregnancy test kit greatly varies from one brand to other. A highly sensitive test kit detects the pregnancy at a low level of the hCG hormones, whereas the less sensitive ones can detect pregnancy only after the hormone level reaches to an optimum proportion.

The faint line does not always indicate about positive pregnancy, as it often indicates about early miscarriage. If you get a faint line of the pregnancy test, do not freak out. Repeat the test after two to three days to get more accurate results. If your pregnancy is positive, the line gets darker after few days of time span. However, if the line persists to remain faint after consecutive results consult with the gynecologist immediately.

Follow The Mentioned Steps When A Faint Line Appears On Pregnancy Test

Most women feel an urge to check their pregnancy status during the early phase of conceiving. They cannot hold their patience to detect the status of their pregnancy. However, performing the pregnancy test too early yields faint line on the test kit. Here are few things you must do, when you observe faint line of pregnancy test:

  • Waiting for a couple of days- If the line on the pregnancy test kit appears faint, it is better to wait for few more days. It allows the hCG levels to rise exponentially. As a result, the change gets reflected through the next test result, and the line appears bold indicating a positive pregnancy.
  • Taking new tests- When taking a home pregnancy test, if the line appears faint on the results, you can take a new test. At this time, you can try using a different brand pregnancy test kit with higher sensitivity. A sensitive pregnancy test easily detects the hCG hormone and indicates the positive result through the bolder line.

A faint line on the pregnancy test could mean that human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone levels are low. This may often be seen in the early days of pregnancy when hCG levels are low in urine. Even a faint line is considered a positive sign, and you may retake the test within two to three days using first-morning urine. Seek a gynecologist’s consultation if the faint line is observed as some medical conditions, such as ectopic pregnancy, can cause low hCG levels and faint lines on home urine pregnancy tests.


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shreeja pillai

Shreeja holds a postgraduate degree in Chemistry and diploma in Drug Regulatory Affairs from the University of Mumbai. Before joining MomJunction, she worked as a research analyst with a leading multinational pharmaceutical company. Her interest in the field of medical research has developed her passion for writing research-based articles. As a writer, she aims at providing informative articles on health... more

Dr. Annal Vaidya

Dr. Annal Vaidya is a former assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the prestigious Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai. He currently works as a consultant in various hospitals in the city. Dr. Vaidya specializes in managing high-risk pregnancies, infertility, and complicated pregnancies. He has a special interest in Cosmetic Gynecology and Endoscopy.