As if the task of taking a pregnancy test weren’t dramatic enough, a difficult-to-read answer can really add some tension to the mix. If you just got a pregnancy test faint line, take a deep breath. We know: super stressful — whether you’re looking for a BFP or a BFN.
There are a few reasons for a faint line on a pregnancy test. Here’s what could be up — and ideas on where to go from here.
Spoiler alert: you’re probably going to have to take another test to be sure either way.
In this article: 📝
- How light can a positive pregnancy test be?
- Is a faint line on a pregnancy test positive?
- Can a faint line be negative?
- How long after a faint positive should I test again?
How light can a positive pregnancy test be?
To get to the bottom of this mystery, let’s start by looking at how pregnancy tests work.
Home pregnancy tests are looking for the hormone human Chorionic Gonadotropin (or hCG for short).
After a fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus, this hormone makes its appearance on the scene, released by the cells that go on to form the placenta.
You should be able to detect hCG in your urine about 12 to 14 days after conception takes place.
All home pregnancy tests collect a sample of your urine and then analyze that sample to see if it contains hCG.
But different pregnancy tests can show the result in different ways.
Some show words like “pregnant” or “not pregnant” or a simple “yes” or “no.” Others show a plus or minus sign.
And then there are the tests that show the bottom line (or two). For the two-line type, one line typically means not pregnant and two lines means pregnant. And here’s where some confusion may step in.
For this type:
- The first line should show up whether or not you’re pregnant. It is called the control line. Basically, it’s there to confirm that the test is working properly. If the control line doesn’t show up, you’ll need to take another test.
- The second line is there to deliver the news. But what happens if that second pregnancy test line is very faint? What does that mean?
Is a faint line on a pregnancy test positive?
Well, it’s complicated.
Faint lines on a pregnancy test can mean that you’re pregnant.
Different pregnancy tests have different sensitivity levels.
Some can detect pregnancy very early. If the line is faint, it could mean that you’re in the very early stages of pregnancy and that your hCG levels are still building up.
So a positive faint pregnancy line is possible—but it’s best to test again at home or visit your doctor to confirm your results.
Can a faint line be negative?
And yes, there are situations where you might have a faint line and a negative test—and this often has to do with what is known as the evaporation line.
Also known as the evap line, an evaporation line appears on your pregnancy test after your pee has evaporated.
It arrives in the space where a positive result should be, but it’s not an indicator that you’re pregnant. Confusing, we know.
So how do you know the difference between an evaporation line and a faint positive? Here’s your cheat sheet.
Evaporation line vs faint positive
- Color. An evaporation line is colorless, while a positive will have a distinct color (even if it’s faint), usually pink.
- Time. The instructions that come with your pregnancy test will tell you when to read the test. An evaporation line will usually appear after the recommended time has passed.
- Look. An evaporation line may look more like a smudge or streak than a line.
- Expiry date. Check to see whether your pregnancy test has expired.
There are other reasons a faint line might show up on a negative test.
- If you’ve recently been pregnant, you may still have some hCG in your system.
- Some medical conditions and medication can also influence your results.
- Menopause might also influence the levels of hCG in your body and could cause a false-positive result.
- Early pregnancy loss is another possibility—and while this is common, it can be devastating to cope with. Loss is loss. Take the time you need to grieve. Connect with those who are going through the same thing.
How long after a faint positive should I test again?
So, the best way to deal with faint lines on a pregnancy test is to take another test—and it’s worth waiting a few days before trying again.
You may have heard of the TWW, or the Two Week Wait?
If implantation has taken place, it’s more likely that you’ll get an accurate result.
You might also want to try a digital test as the results can be easier to read.
Read the instructions on the test and give your Peanut community a shout if you need help. You don’t have to do this alone.