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Negative Pregnancy Test But Feeling Pregnant? What’s Going On?

2 years ago5 min read
Last updated: Jan 23 2023

In the baby books, they say that women experience pregnancy symptoms from the sixth week. So we expect to have two weeks of feeling pretty normal after missing a period, then pregnancy nausea, cravings, and sore boobs kick in. In reality, it’s not that simple.

Negative Pregnancy Test but Pregnant

Lots of women “know” that they’re pregnant before they have a [positive test]9 result. They experience early symptoms, or they just have a feeling. It’s frustrating, but it’s very common to have a negative pregnancy test but be pregnant. Here’s what’s going on.

In this article: 📝

  • Can I be pregnant and still test negative?
  • Negative pregnancy test and pregnancy loss
  • Can you be 5 weeks pregnant and have a negative pregnancy test?
  • Can you be 6 weeks pregnant and still have a negative test?
  • Can you be 2 months pregnant and still have a negative test?

Can I be pregnant and still test negative?

Modern HPTs are reliable, but, while false positives are extremely rare, false negative pregnancy tests happen all the time, especially in the first few weeks – and even if you’re already experiencing early symptoms. If you have a negative pregnancy test but you feel pregnant, there are lots of explanations.

Most false negatives happen because women test too early. HPTs detect hCG, a hormone that your body produces after a fertilized egg implants in your uterine wall and the placenta starts to form. HCG levels rise exponentially during early pregnancy—the level in your urine should double every 2-3 days—but that does mean that the levels at the beginning are often too low for the test to detect.

You might also have a negative pregnancy test but still be pregnant because your cycle was irregular and you didn’t ovulate when you thought you did. As few as 13% of women have a regular 28-day cycle and implantation, which triggers hCG production, can happen between 6 and 12 days after ovulation. Illness, stress, travel, breastfeeding, or coming off birth control can all mess with your cycle.

Even if you’re 100% sure of your dates, make sure that you:

  • Use the test first thing in the morning, because your first urine of the day has the highest concentration of hCG.

  • Wait for as long as you can before you use the test. Even with highly sensitive tests, it’s better to wait until your period is actually late.

  • Read the test when the instructions tell you. That line needs time to appear, but waiting too long gives time for an “evaporation line,” which can look like a positive result, to develop.

  • Store your pregnancy tests at the right temperature and use them before they expire.

Following all these steps will give you the best chance of avoiding the disappointment of a false negative pregnancy test.

Negative pregnancy test and pregnancy loss

Early pregnancy loss and miscarriage without symptoms are sadly quite common. If statistics are taken based on blood tests from just after implantation (so around a week before a traditional HPT would give an accurate result), as many as 30% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage.

However, if you’re trying to conceive and using HPTs around the time your period is due, a negative result does not necessarily mean pregnancy loss. The only clear indication of miscarriage, which would still have to be confirmed by a doctor, would be to have a positive result followed by an increasingly faint line if you tested again in the following days. This would indicate that the hCG levels in your body were falling instead of rising.

Can you be 5 weeks pregnant and have a negative pregnancy test?

The fifth week of pregnancy is five weeks after the first day of your last period and three weeks after ovulation. In other words, you’re about a week late. Although your hormone levels will be rising, it’s still possible that they’re too low to register on a HPT.

Can you be 6 weeks pregnant and still have a negative test?

There are frequent cases where a woman has been six weeks pregnant with a negative pregnancy test and had a healthy baby about 34 weeks later. If you’re sure of your dates but still testing negative at home, it might be worth visiting your gynecologist for a blood test or an early ultrasound. Although it’s usually too soon to see a heartbeat, a transvaginal (internal) ultrasound can often find the “yolk sack” where your tiny embryo might be growing.

Can you be 2 months pregnant and still have a negative test?

By two months, a negative pregnancy test almost always means that your period is late for a different reason. Although hCG levels rise to a peak and then fall again, they’re usually still climbing until the end of the first trimester.

If it’s unusual for you to be six weeks late, you’re testing negative, and you were also testing negative earlier in your cycle, it’s probably time to make an appointment with your doctor – especially if you have symptoms of note.

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