So, you think you may be pregnant. You’ve missed your menstrual cycle by a few days. Whether you were trying to conceive or not, you are filled with perhaps a little bit of joy and apprehension. You go out and purchase your home pregnancy testing kit. Anxiously wait until the next morning to test, or perhaps you just can’t wait and as soon as you get home you run to the bathroom and take your pregnancy test kit with you. You read through the directions in a hurry and test. It says you aren’t pregnant. At this point you may be overjoyed or extremely sad, but just to warn you; you may have just become another who has taken a false negative pregnancy test. It happens more often than you think!
What causes a false negative pregnancy test?
No matter what the cause, there is a lot of frustration upon taking a test and realizing that it has messed up and told you the wrong answer. There could be several reasons you experience a false negative test result. It could be anything from a faulty or out of date testing kit to simple user error, and even a miscalculation of when you were supposed to have you period. Did you wait long enough for the test results? Did you wait too long?
Improper use of home pregnancy test kits happens. It’s not always your fault but sometimes it happens. You read the instructions while anxious to test and it says to read results in five minutes but you wait only three, or it says three and then the phone rings and you run to answer it and wait too long to get back to the results. They are designed to work with in the time frame it tells you to wait. It takes time for the test kit to register yes or no. However, if you wait too long, it can easily go back to a negative result as your urine dries.
Another reason it may fail is because there simply isn’t enough HCG hormone to show up in your urine on the test kit. It is recommended if you have only missed your period by a few days to test first thing in the morning. Your first bathroom break after sleeping all night is going to have the largest amount of pregnancy hormones in it. Testing at the wrong time of day or going to the bathroom without letting your urine build up enough could easily contribute to a negative pregnancy test result.
Be sure to check the date on your home pregnancy test kit. If the test is old, then it may also cause you to experience a false negative test. All things go bad eventually. It’s a simple fact of nature and products you buy are no different. If you purchase a home testing kit that is near expiration or has been on the shelf for the last year or two and is all covered in dust, there is no guarantee that it can still process the urine you put on it.
It’s frustrating to take it and get a false negative pregnancy test!
If you have experienced a false negative test, it can be irritating in many ways and it could cause you to end up getting a late start on prenatal care. It doesn’t matter if you were trying to get pregnant or not, if you take a test and it says negative, you will have a wide range of emotions because of the result.
You may be sad if you were trying, or relieved if you were not. It is also human nature to feel emotions about pregnancy. Having a baby is a big deal. If you weren’t planning to have a baby right now and just got caught in the moment and now your period is late, you have possibly spent a week or two, maybe more, worrying over it and a negative test result is your idea of a dream come true. If you have been trying for the last year, then you have likely waited all month hoping your next period wouldn’t show up and then it doesn’t so you have your hopes up really high thinking you’re pregnant and then it’s negative. Your wishes have been crushed and things in your world couldn’t get any worse at that moment.
Most ob/gyns won’t see you until you have had a positive pregnancy test. You can’t just go to them necessarily in order to take a test. It’s unfair but due to the fact that we are just humans and we often make mistakes, they can’t see every woman whose period is running a little later than they expected it to run. There are very few women who have a cycle that is exact and even fewer women who will keep it marked on their calendar every month the date and time they started last month. Even if you have always had a menstrual cycle that was consistent, as women age and their body changes, it’s not a crystal clear sign that you will start on the 21st of every month for the rest of their life. It would be nice, but mother nature doesn’t work in the most convenient way most of the time!
Considering your prenatal care should begin as soon as you become pregnant, any false negative could delay you getting the prenatal care you and your unborn baby need. It could easily cause complications if you wait too long.
As soon as you begin to think you could be pregnant you should consider taking a vitamin that has folic acid in it. Whether you are pregnant or not at the time, it will be good for you and your future baby. It is one way to ensure it won’t hurt either of you as much if you don’t start prenatal care due to a wrong test result.
What happens if you do have a false negative pregnancy test?
If you take a test due to missing your period by a few days, then obviously your first course of action is to retest. If that one also shows up negative, then you should wait a few more days to recheck. It could be just a matter of not enough pregnancy hormones to show up yet. Wait a week and during that time your menstrual cycle may start because you truly aren’t pregnant.
If at the end of a few days you still haven’t started your period, then get another testing kit and try again. You may opt to choose a different store to buy it from or a different brand of home testing kit. You don’t necessarily need to buy the most expensive brand on the market, but it may give you a better feeling if you don’t buy the two dollar testing kit, if your first attempt ended up being negative.
When you take that test, ensure that you have read all the directions and you wait as long as it says to. Eliminate the possibility of human error. It’s unlikely you will buy another home testing kit that will give you another false negative pregnancy test result unless you have severely miscalculated when you were going to have your menstrual cycle.
If you are still getting a negative result after a week or so of the date you should have started your cycle, you should contact your health care provider and let them test you. A false negative pregnancy test result could be caused by another issue such as an ectopic pregnancy which will require immediate care.