How To Handle False-Positive Pregnancy Test Results
By:     -   December 6, 2017   -   Health & Wellness  -  Women's Health   -   0 Comments   -   372 Views


Once a woman suspects or finds out that she is pregnant, she will undergo a flurry of emotions. Whether it is being very late for her period (especially if she usually has regular cycles), or is nauseous, tired, especially if those symptoms are in conjunction with being late- she will likely take a pregnancy test to confirm. No one can simply bury their heads when it comes to a suspected pregnancy. But before heading to the doctor, it is a good idea to take a home pregnancy test – one that you could easily buy from the local drugstores.

Sometimes, even if a woman is pregnant and she takes a test, it can come up as negative. And on the flip side, there are times when a woman is not pregnant and she ends up with a positive result!

File this under “things they don’t tell you about pregnancy”!

Even though the Mayo Clinic says that home pregnancy kits tests results are 99% accurate, there is still a 1% chance of inaccuracy. So yes, 1% of the time, these tests can be wrong. In fact, it happens more often that the test would indicate a false positive result over a false negative. In other words, plenty of emotions will be stirred when a false pregnancy test comes up, just like an accurate one would.

Now let’s take a look at why 1% of the time a home pregnancy test that is believed to be incredibly accurate can end up giving you false positive (or even false negative) result.

Very Early Miscarriage

In this situation where an early miscarriage was involved, the test would have been indeed accurate. However, if a period follows, you will be under the impression that the positive test was false. Sometimes, it happens when an embryo fails to implant properly and is expelled during the upcoming menstrual cycle.

Another thing to consider is that if a miscarriage happened previously, and for some reason the cycle was long, which is why the woman tested in the first place, debris from the miscarriage could still be hanging around and therefore, a false positive would likely occur if a home pregnancy test was taken.

Fertility Medications

Believe it or not, sometimes fertility medications can be blamed for a false positive on a pregnancy test. The test is there to detect a hormone called HCG, which is released from the placenta during pregnancy after the embryo is implanted in the uterus. The amount of HCG released multiplies within days. Therefore, that would explain why there would be a positive pregnancy test.

Many fertility drugs contain HCG to help with ovulation and proper implantation after fertilization has occurred. Therefore, if you are taking fertility drugs that contain HCG, then it is absolutely recommended to not take a pregnancy test before the time that your fertility doctor says you can test. Because if you test too soon, and a positive shows up, you will be extremely devastated when Aunt Flo shows up!

Residual HCG From Previous Pregnancy

As stated earlier, if a miscarriage already happened and there is residual tissue in your system, then it can unfortunately show a false positive if you take a pregnancy test about four to six weeks after it happened. The same goes if you had a baby four to six weeks ago. Even if you are not breastfeeding, your cycles will take time to go back to normal. If your first cycle is extremely long, and you are concerned that you may be pregnant again, be prepared that if you test, you may end up with a false positive. It is best to wait at least eight weeks after deciding to test. By then, you will more than likely end up with an accurate result.

Test Sitting too Long

Most of the time, the instructions on a pregnancy test will tell you how long you should leave the strip in the urine. If the test is sitting in the urine for a longer time than what is stated on the box, then the urine begins to evaporate on the strip. When that happens, it will make it appear to be positive because two lines develop from that. A negative test only shows one line, but in this case the evaporated urine will show two lines because of it sitting too long.

For example, if the phone rings right after you take a pregnancy test and you pick up the phone, and leave the strip on there, you could be either elated or upset when coming back to the bathroom. You could be finding a positive pregnancy test, after chatting on the phone for a half hour and momentarily forgetting that the strip was left in there for that long!

Expired Kit

It is possible that the kit you are using to check pregnancy may be past its expiration date. The chemical that reads the HCG might fade away with time, which could be the cause of the result being incorrect. Therefore, always check the expiration date of the kit.

Anytime you take a home pregnancy test and the result is positive, always follow-up with the doctor to have a blood test confirm the results. This way, you will know for a fact whether you are pregnant or not, and later down the line, whether you are having a baby boy or baby girl. Then, you can take the necessary steps to plan ahead.