I got a negative result on a home pregnancy test. Might I still be pregnant?

If you do a test and it says you are pregnant, the chances of you being pregnant are extremely high; however, negative results are not quite so reliable. It is extremely rare for a person to do a test that says they are pregnant and then find out that they are not, but false negative tests are much more common; this refers to a test saying you’re not pregnant, when in fact you are.

There may be many different reasons for a test saying negative when you are actually pregnant; these include:

  • Doing the test too early: the concentration of HCG may still be too low for the test to detect it so the test will say no even when you are pregnant. You shouldn’t do a test before your period is due, for example.
  • Individual differences: every woman is different and the amount of HCG they produce in the very early stages often differs; tests can detect HCG in some woman and not others, so it is always a good idea to do two tests, a few days apart.

If you feel that you might be pregnant, yet you’ve got a negative result, repeat the test a few days later; if you still haven’t got a clear answer, talk to your GP.

Pregnancy tests at the doctors

If you think you might be pregnant, you should arrange to see your GP. When you go to the doctor, you will be given a blood test, which will confirm whether or not you are pregnant. The blood test, like the urine test, tests for the presence of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG). There are two types of blood test; one is qualitative and one is quantitative. The qualitative test gives a yes or no answer, while the quantitative test determines the amount of HCG in the blood, which can tell you how far along you are in your pregnancy.

Blood tests can tell you whether you are pregnant earlier than urine tests. The test is quick and simple; the doctor will take a sample of your blood, which will then be tested to determine if HCG is present in your blood; if you have HCG in your blood you are probably pregnant (fertility drugs also cause HCG to be present in the blood so this is not always the case).

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