False Negative Pregnancy Test – How Common Is It?

Last Updated on

If you are planning to conceive or have recently had unprotected sex, you may soon start to experience symptoms of pregnancy. However, when you try to know the status of your pregnancy with a home pregnancy test kit, you may get a negative pregnancy test result. Has the same happened to you too, leaving you confused or worried?

If you said yes, then maybe it’s time you scroll down and find out what could be the cause of that negative result, and whether your symptoms do indicate a positive pregnancy.

What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of Pregnancy?

If you are trying to get pregnant or you engaged in unprotected sex, you may start thinking too much about getting pregnant. Sometimes, thinking too much about the early days and weeks of pregnancy can trigger some symptoms associated with a positive pregnancy. It can not only make you anxious but can also make these fake symptoms real, whether they indicate a pregnancy or not. Before you start thinking too much about your supposed symptoms, here is a look at some of the most common ones here:

1. Nausea Or Vomiting:

  • In many cases, you may start suspecting a positive pregnancy the moment you feel nauseous or have any vomiting bouts. In reality, the feeling of nausea or your vomiting will not begin for at least four weeks after you become pregnant.
  • In some cases, your nausea or vomiting can also be due to a viral or bacterial infection.
  • Sometimes, a problem with your pancreas or gall bladder, or appendicitis, can also trigger nausea or vomiting that you might suspect it is because of a positive pregnancy.
  • If you suffer from migraine headaches or have any other neurological conditions such as intracranial pressure, it can also result in nausea or even vomiting.
  • Being stressed, whether emotional stress or physical stress, can also often make you feel nauseous or cause vomiting.
  • Some other causes of nausea or vomiting can also be anxiety-related disorders or eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia.

2. Tenderness, Soreness Or Sensitivity In Your Breasts:

  • Tenderness, soreness or sensitivity in your breasts is also one of the first symptoms that often point towards a positive pregnancy. In case of a positive pregnancy, you will feel the symptoms in both your breasts and not just in one breast.
  • In most cases, you will experience breast tenderness in both your breasts about two weeks after you become pregnant. The reason you experience breast tenderness once you are pregnant is because your body produces a higher level of hormones, especially estrogen.
  • If you are being treated for postmenopausal hormone therapy or any hormonal therapy, you can still experience the same symptoms that lead to breast tenderness or soreness.
  • Some other conditions, such as some infection or a condition known as herpes zoster, can also lead to breast pain or tenderness. In such a case, you will experience pain, soreness or tenderness in only one breast and not both.

3. Being Tired All The Time:

  • Feeling tired all the time is also another common sign of early pregnancy. While it is easy for you to confuse fatigue with early pregnancy, it can also be a sign that your menstrual period is near.
  • In the first trimester, the levels of tiredness are at an all-time high, especially as your body experiences a steep increase in hormone levels, especially progesterone.
  • However, in case you are not pregnant but are still feeling fatigued all the time, it could also be because of other medical reasons. Some conditions that may lead to tiredness are low levels of thyroid, depression, stress or anxiety, diabetes, electrolyte imbalance, anemia, and even cancer.
  • Sometimes, if you are on any medication, it could also cause fatigue as a side effect.

4. A Growing Belly:

  • The moment you notice a growing belly and experience any of the above symptoms, you will almost be sure that you are pregnant, even if your test results comes back as negative.
  • Most women will only start feeling a growth in their belly or a hard growth in their belly once they reach the second trimester.
  • In some cases, even though it is rare, you may also experience an enlargement or hardness in your belly which could be because of a large fibroid that can look as well as feel as if you are pregnant.
  • There are many other conditions that could also make your belly become larger and feel hard or swollen.
  • One of the most common reasons that your belly could feel big and hard without actually being pregnant is when you are about to have your menstrual period. Once you are about to get on your menstrual period, your body experiences some change in the level of fluids.
  • Some other reasons that could also cause your belly to become bigger or feel harder than normal are conditions such as the presence of air in your bowel, some types of food allergies or intolerance, such as being lactose or gluten intolerant and more.

What If The Pregnancy Test Is Still Negative Despite The Symptoms?

Just as it is possible to have the symptoms of pregnancy even if you are not pregnant, it is also possible that you are pregnant but do not have the usual symptoms. In case this happens, here are a few possible causes for the same:

1. Your Home Pregnancy Test Kit Is Malfunctioning:

  • Sometimes, it is possible that the home pregnancy test kit that you are using has an expired date. It is also possible that the product is faulty and hence is not able to give you an accurate reading.
  • Make sure that you check the package properly to see if there are any signs of damage. Also, make sure that you follow all the instructions on the package and do as asked. Some brands of home pregnancy test kits have a different wait time than the rest, so make sure you wait accordingly.

2. Check The Sensitivity Of The Home Pregnancy Test Kit:

  • It is important that you also look for the sensitivity of the home pregnancy test kit that you purchase. The sensitivity of the test should be at least 20 international units of the pregnancy hormone (HCG). The level should not be more than 20 international units, as otherwise it will not be sensitive enough for those who have low levels of HCG.
  • To make sure that your test result is accurate, try and take the home pregnancy test kit at least a week after you have missed your due date. It will help increase your HCG levels so that your test results will read the levels more accurately and give a positive result if you are pregnant.

3. If There Is The Risk Of A Missed Miscarriage:

  • One of the least common reasons that could also result in a negative home pregnancy test kit in case you were pregnant is if you have a missed miscarriage.
  • It is sometimes possible that even though you did get pregnant, you suffered from a miscarriage that happened in the earliest weeks of your pregnancy. However, it is also possible that even though you did suffer from the miscarriage, there were no signs of bleeding. If you do use the home pregnancy test kit under such circumstances, the result will come back as not pregnant, even though you may have felt all the signs and symptoms.
  • If this is the reason the home pregnancy test kit shows you a negative pregnancy test result, it could be a difficult condition to diagnose.
  • One of the most effective ways that you can check if the negative result is showing as a result of a missed miscarriage, you can check with a doctor for a test that can help. Your doctor will most likely refer a sequential blood pregnancy test that will show the levels of HCG in your urine. If the results are too low, your doctor may be able to diagnose whether or not it is due to a missed miscarriage.

4. If You Are Taking The Home Pregnancy Test Too Soon:

  • If you take the home pregnancy test too soon, the levels of HCG in your body may still not be enough to reflect as a positive test result. In case, you do the test too soon, and the levels have not yet built up, your test result will come out as negative, even though you may be pregnant.
  • In many cases, you may worry that you are pregnant and immediately want to take a home pregnancy test, especially if you feel the symptoms. If you have still not missed your regular starting date for your menstrual cycle when you do the test, the result will most likely show up as a false negative pregnancy.
  • The best time to take a home pregnancy test is only after a few days when you have missed the regular date when your menstrual cycle was due to start.

5. If The Time Of Your Ovulation Is Not Constant:

  • Another reason that you may get a negative pregnancy test but still feel the symptoms of being pregnant is if your ovulation dates are not regular. It is possible that your cycles are not regular, and your ovulation happens late towards your cycle. Sometimes, even if you otherwise have regular cycles, you may still ovulate later in your cycle.
  • The delay in your ovulation can have a negative impact on the result as it will not be able to detect the proper levels of HCG in your system.
  • After about eight days when your ovulation first begins and up to two weeks after you have conceived, the home pregnancy test kit will first be able to pick up the levels of HCG in your body. In case you still get a negative pregnancy test result even though you feel you are pregnant, wait for another eight to ten days before taking the test again.

6. If You Have Not Calculated Your Period Dates Properly:

  • The date when your last period ended will play an important role in assessing when you can take a pregnancy test that will give you a positive result if you are pregnant.
  • In case you had forgotten the date when your last period ended, it could mean that you are not sure of when your next monthly period is due to begin. As a result, you may think that you have skipped your monthly period start date and that your periods are late, even though it may not be time yet.
  • As long as your partner is healthy and fit, and the sperm quality and sperm count are right, you will most likely have a period of about three days during your ovulation date when you can get pregnant. Also, it is possible that you did ovulate, but you conceived only after a few more days.
  • If you are not sure about your monthly period dates and think you are confused, wait for a few more days before you take the home pregnancy test again.

7. If The Test Gets Diluted For Any Reason:

  • It is also possible that while you are taking the home pregnancy test, it gets diluted due to certain reasons and fails to give you an accurate reading. Even though it is a rare situation, it is still a possibility.
  • You may have placed too much liquid on the testing strip, or the testing chemical given in the test kit may somehow end up diluting the sample. In either case, you will not get a correct reading, and even if you are pregnant, it may come off as a negative test result for pregnancy (1).

If you have tried a few home pregnancy tests with a negative result but still feel pregnant, speak to your doctor about it. Your doctor may suggest a blood test that will be able to give a more accurate result.

Moms, did you have a negative home pregnancy test result even though you were pregnant? What was your doctor’s reaction to the outcome? What do you think made your test result come out as negative? Do share your experiences here.

Was this article helpful?
Latest Articles