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What You Need to Know About False Pregnancy Test Results

There are many reasons that you may get false pregnancy test results. Most false results are those stating that the mother isn’t pregnant when she is. However, there are some instances in which a positive test could be wrong as well.

In order to fully understand how false pregnancy tests occur, you must first understand how various pregnancy tests work. Basically, the pregnancy test will measure a certain hormone – called human chorionic gonadotropin. This hormone is secreted during pregnancy and assists with the growth of the fetus.

Home pregnancy tests can detect this hormone once its levels have increased a significant percent, confirming 97% accurately that the woman is pregnant. Believe it or not, this is the same type of test your doctor will likely perform. Unfortunately, many women have a small amount of this hormone continuously and if the level gets high enough just before a period, you could get a false pregnancy test result.

The best time to use a urine test for pregnancy is three to five days after your missed period. This is late enough that you should get an accurate reading, but early enough to start prenatal care almost immediately. Many women think that they just know intuitively that they’re pregnant and try to take a test before they’ve even missed a period. However, these tests are rarely accurate. Don’t let a negative test reading get you down unless you have three negative tests and you’ve taken them within a reasonable time after your missed period.

Blood pregnancy tests are rare, but are much more accurate. The hormone is more easily detected through a blood test – therefore, pregnancy can be detected earlier. If you got a positive urine test and then had a light period, a blood test can be used to check the levels of the hormone present. If the level is low, you may not be pregnant after all. Or, if the levels are slightly elevated, a sonogram may be ordered to determine if you’re truly pregnant. If you are pregnant but these levels are low, you’re in for a rough pregnancy. However, you’ll have eliminated much of the risk simply through early detection.

Some women also have a rare pregnancy complication in which the hormone is barely present at all, even though they’re very much pregnant. For these women, a urine test will almost never show the pregnancy. A blood test is the only way to confirm or negate a pregnancy in these circumstances.

You can also get false pregnancy test results that say you’re pregnant when you aren’t. These are more common in the case of a miscarriage. You may not even have known you were pregnant, but had some exceptionally heavy bleeding with cramping. When you visit your doctor after such an episode, they may take a urine sample, and in so doing get a positive pregnancy test result. However, a blood test, sonogram or simply time will show that the pregnancy isn’t to be at this time.

Fertility drugs can also cause false pregnancy test results, because the hormone levels of the woman are altered so drastically. In these cases a blood pregnancy test, as well as a sonogram, is generally used to confirm or deny pregnancy, as urine tests will rarely be accurate in these situations.

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