No official numbers have ever been published about how many women get false negative pregnancy test results before finally confirming their pregnancies either through a blood test or taking another home pregnancy test. In fact, when women wonder just how common is a false negative pregnancy test result, they may be unable to come up with any definitive answer that puts their minds at ease. Women for generations now have been taking home pregnancy tests and either being totally confident with the results or taking test after test until they physically can tell if they are or are not pregnant. Even so, before taking a pregnancy test, a woman should realize that negative results can occur even if she truly is pregnant, She can make sure she gets the best results by following a few simple rules when testing.
Timing can be everything when it comes to taking a home pregnancy test. Some women test too early, which nearly always leads to a false negative. Rather than testing prior to missing their periods, women should wait until they are a few days late to take a urine test. Even tests that tout their ability to detect hCG before a missed period can give false negative results.
Second, women should test first thing in the morning when the hormone hCG will be more concentrated in their urine. Testing at night or even during the middle of the day can result in a false negative. As the day wears on, a woman’s urine may become diluted and not at the quality level needed for an accurate reading. When she first wakes up in the morning, a woman who wants the best answer should test immediately before continuing on with her day and risk compromising her test results later.
Any woman get can a false negative reading if she fails to follow certain protocol before testing for pregnancy. In fact, the Mayo Clinic advises women to wait until they have missed their periods before using a home pregnancy test. If they jump the proverbial gun and begin testing immediately after ovulating and having intercourse, they are setting themselves up for weeks of disappointment, particularly if they are desperate to get pregnant. Rather than testing prior to missing a period, they should wait until they are a day or more late to take a home pregnancy test.
Women who get false negatives also may be testing at the wrong time of day. As they go about their day, women usually drink water, coffee, soda, and other beverages that can dilute their urine. If they test after drinking these beverages, their urine may be so diluted that it is of poor quality. The test cannot pick up on the proper amounts of hCG to give an accurate reading. Instead, they should test when they first get up in the morning because their urine is more concentrated and will contain the necessary levels of hormones needed for an accurate result.
Another reason that women get false negatives is that they check the test results too soon. They may only wait a few seconds before checking the results and, seeing only one line on the test strip, may prematurely believe that they are not pregnant. If they are very early in their pregnancies, it may take the test several minutes to read the sample and give an accurate result. Rather than throwing out the test strip after a few seconds, women should give the test more than a few moments to read the sample and finish its determination of whether or not they are pregnant.
No official statistics exist to show how often women get false negative pregnancy test results. In fact, it may be impossible to tell this number because many women do not report the false negatives to their doctors. They simply wait to test again or they confirm the pregnancy with their doctors by taking a blood test. Even so, women who do get false negatives time after time may consider for what reasons this anomaly is occurring. She may need to adjust her medication regimen or give her body time to heal from an injury or illness before testing again.
In fact, women who have been taking fertility drugs often will get a false negative before their pregnancies are confirmed through blood work. The hormones in their fertility medications can mask hCG and make it impossible for a home pregnancy test to give an accurate reading. The fact that the hCG is masked does not reduce the symptoms of early pregnancy, however. Women may still feel nauseated, bloated, tender in their breasts, and fatigued, all signs of early pregnancy. If these symptoms persist even after taking tests that come up negative, women should ask their fertility specialist to order a blood test that can confirm if they are pregnant.
Women who have been severely ill also can get a false negative when testing for pregnancy. Being ill with the flu or pneumonia, for example, can throw off a woman’s reproductive system and cause her ovulation rhythm to be thrown off track. She may conceive during her recovery, but be unable to get an accurate result because her body is still recuperating from the illness. She may wait a few weeks to test again or schedule an appointment with her gynecologist if she believes that she is a few weeks into a pregnancy.