Positive Pregnancy Test But No Symptoms: Why Does It Happen?

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You must have heard about the symptoms that mark early pregnancy, such as morning sickness, breast changes, and fatigue. However, it is possible to get a positive pregnancy test without any symptoms. If this happens to you, take a second test or consult a doctor. In addition, you may need to undergo blood and urine tests to confirm whether you are pregnant or not.

In this post, we explain some of the possible reasons behind a positive pregnancy test with no symptoms and when to see a doctor. We also address some frequently asked questions, such as whether it is possible to be pregnant and not test positive.

Positive Pregnancy Test But No Symptoms: Why Does It Happen?

Pregnancy tests check your urine or blood for hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) hormone. Your body is likely to produce this hormone about six days after fertilization (1), and the hormone levels may double every two to three days (2).

If the test result shows positive, but the symptoms do not occur, the following could be the possible reasons.

  1. You may not have recognized the early symptoms: Implantation occurs about the same time your menstrual period is due. You might have taken the light bleeding and cramping (as a result of implantation) (3) for a period.
  1. You may have taken the test too early: Some women start experiencing symptoms a week or two after conception, while others may experience it after a few months. It takes about six to 12 days for the fertilized egg to attach to the uterus (4) and become viable, after which you may take the test. The test result may come positive but the symptoms might take time to appear.
You may have taken the test too early.

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  1. You may have attributed the symptoms to some other causes: You might have taken certain symptoms such as nausea or dizziness for something else other than pregnancy. For instance, you might think that fatigue was a result of a long workweek or strenuous activity, and your mood swings have been caused by stress.
  1. You may experience subtle changes: You may not always have visible changes such as edema, morning sickness, or frequent urination. Sometimes, you may only experience subtle changes such as fatigue, minor appetite changes, aches, or mood swings, which are hardly noticeable.
You may only experience subtle changes such as fatigue.

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  1. Ectopic pregnancy. It is a condition wherein the fertilized embryo implants outside the uterus in 95% cases in the fallopian tube. It is not viable but still produces hCG (5).
  1. False-positive pregnancy test results: Falsepositive test results may also occur when the test shows positive even if you are not pregnant. This could happen due to factors that may mess with the pregnancy test results. These factors may include: 
    • Chemical pregnancy : It is a miscarriage that occurs before you know you are pregnant. A low level of hCG could be present in the blood or urine and may give a positive result (6).
    • Fertility medications, anti-anxiety medications, anticonvulsants, antihistamines, antipsychotics, and diuretics may also cause false positives if you take the test immediately after taking the course of medicine (7).
    • Taking the test when your urine is diluted or letting the test kit sit too long may also lead to a false-positive result. Read the kit directions and take the test accordingly. Also, check for its expiry, since it may also affect the test results (7) (8).
Online Pregnancy Test

When To See A Doctor?

They may conduct blood tests and urine tests.

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If you have got a positive test result, follow up with your doctor. They may conduct blood tests (serum beta HCG) and urine tests to confirm your pregnancy. These may be followed by an ultrasound to (a transvaginal scan can detect pregnancy as early as five weeks) check for the gestational sac and determine if the pregnancy is normal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I get a positive pregnancy test in the fourth week?

You may get a positive result on a home pregnancy test at four weeks of pregnancy. It is often recommended that you wait for a week after a missed period and then take a pregnancy test (8).

2. Is it possible to be pregnant and not test positive?

At times, you might  get a negative test result, even when you are pregnant. It is called a false-negative, which might happen if you take the test too early in pregnancy (when hCG levels are low), if the test kit is used incorrectly, or if you have used diluted urine (drank excessive fluids before the test, or if you have taken the test in the latter part of the day) (9).

If you receive a positive pregnancy test but no symptoms, the chances are that you may have taken the test too early or might not have followed the steps accurately. Nevertheless, you can always retake the test after a few days or consult your doctor to participate in standard pregnancy blood tests. However, there are also chances for the test to result in false negatives. Hence, it is always safer to seek a doctor’s opinion to confirm pregnancy than rely solely on home pregnancy kits.

References:

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. PA Nepomnaschy et al.; Urinary hCG patterns during the week following implantation; Hum Reprod. (2008).
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5330618/
  2. HCG (Urine); University of Rochester Medical Center
    https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=167&contentid=hcg_urine
  3. Pregnancy: Am I Pregnant? Cleveland Clinic
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9709-pregnancy-am-i-pregnant
  4. Alok Sharma and Pratap Kumar; Understanding implantation window a crucial phenomenon; J Hum Reprod Sci. (2012).
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3409914/
  5. Vanitha N Sivalingam et al.; Diagnosis and management of ectopic pregnancy; J Fam Plann Reprod Health Care (2012).
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3213855/
  6. “TWEAKING“ THE TEST; University of Utah Health
    https://healthcare.utah.edu/healthfeed/postings/2015/07/070715_tweaking.php
  7. Can You Get A False Positive Pregnancy Test Result? AVAIL
    https://www.availnyc.org/false-positive-pregnancy-test
  8. Knowing if you are pregnant; Office on Women’s Health U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
    https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-get-pregnant/knowing-if-you-are-pregnant
  9. Pregnancy testing; Better Health Channel; State Government of Victoria Australia
    https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/pregnancy-testing
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Rebecca Malachi

Rebecca is a pregnancy writer and editor with a passion for delivering research-based and engaging content in areas of fertility, pregnancy, birth, and post-pregnancy. She did her graduation in Biotechnology and Genetics from Loyola Academy, Osmania University and obtained a certification in ‘Nutrition and Lifestyle in Pregnancy’ from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU). She has been into health and...
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Subhashis Samajder

( MS, DNB)
Dr. Subhashis Samajder is a consultant Gynecologist-Obstetrician currently practising at Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Howrah. His area of expertise includes abortion, colposcopy surgery, hysterectomy, hysteroscopy, infertility treatment, and menopausal problems. Dr. Samajder believes in sending his patients back home healthy and satisfied with the treatment. He also takes up women’s health awareness through his YT videos.