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Faint Line On Pregnancy Test: Is It Positive?

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner


Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 13, 2023

Faint Line On Pregnancy Test: Is It Positive?

Congratulations! You’re pregnant. Or, maybe not? That faint second line (or little pink plus sign for some brands) on your pregnancy test may leave you wondering if it was a good idea to take one in the first place. After all, these tests can give a false-positive result and you might not want to get your hopes up unnecessarily. For instance, what if it gives you a faint line? Is a faint line pregnancy test positive? 

How Do Home Pregnancy Tests Work?

Home tests are designed to tell you whether or not you’re pregnant by detecting the presence of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone that circulates throughout your body during pregnancy. Unfortunately, they aren’t foolproof. They can cause false results under some circumstances.

Faint Line Pregnancy Test – Is It Positive?

Depending on the brand, you either need to see a plus (+) sign or two lines on a home pregnancy test kit to say that you’re pregnant. But, sometimes, the results are faint. Does that mean you’re not really pregnant?

According to experts, if you see even a faint line, that probably means you are indeed pregnant. As mentioned earlier, the tests are designed to detect hCG – and experts say you only produce this hormone when you are pregnant. Although there are still some rare factors to consider (which we will discuss later). 

For now, let’s talk about the most common reason you have a faint line pregnancy test. 

The most common reason is that you took the test too early. Faint line means the kit detected low levels of hCG. At the start of pregnancy, you will really only have low levels of this hormone. But as the pregnancy progresses, the levels will increase, paving the way for a more solid, visible line. 

Other Factors to Keep in Mind

A faint line on a pregnancy test can be difficult to interpret. While it may indicate that you are pregnant, other factors may also come into play. Below are the other possible reasons for having a faint line pregnancy test:

1. Evaporation Line

Do you see a faint line? Then it’s important to note when you see it. If you see it past the time the instructions require you to see the result, then it’s probably an evaporation line. 

The evaporation line is one that shows up in the results window after the urine has evaporated. You typically see it minutes after you’re supposed to know whether you have a positive or negative result. And, in most cases, an evaporation line is a colorless streak – not exactly a faint line. 

2. Chemical Pregnancy

So, you see a faint line and then a few days later, you had your period? In this case, you probably experienced what others call chemical pregnancy. 

The test result wasn’t false, you were indeed pregnant, but the pregnancy was not viable, leading to early pregnancy loss. 

3. Exogenous hCG 

Are you taking fertility medicines to induce ovulation? These medicines may contain hCG, and hence can result in a false positive result, showing as a faint line pregnancy test. 

Other Factors to Consider

Besides the above-mentioned reasons for a faint line on a home test kit, reports say there are other factors that can give you a false positive result. These include:

  • Blood or protein in the urine
  • Human error in use and interpretation 
  • Ectopic production of hCG (possibly due to a tumor) 
  • Other drugs, such as aspirin and methadone 

Your Next Steps

If you see a faint line on your pregnancy test, the best thing to do is head to your doctor. They can order an ultrasound scan to see the fetus and determine whether you’re really pregnant or if other factors have contributed to a false-positive result. 

Learn more about Pregnancy Problems here

Disclaimer

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner


Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Mar 13, 2023

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