Becoming pregnant is the dream of every woman. This explains why a negative pregnancy test result might be heart breaking.
For some women, the result may be positive but in reality, it is negative. So, what can cause a false positive pregnancy test?
You can know if you are pregnant by doing a pregnancy test also known as PT. There are different methods of carrying out this test. You can either do it at home with your urine or check in with your doctor who will collect your blood sample.
Video: What Can Cause A False Positive Pregnancy
If you prefer learning by video, this article is also explained here.
When you become pregnant, your body will produce a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hcg). This happens when implantation has taken place. After then, the hcg level will keep increasing.
Pregnancy Test Via Blood Sample
When you experience early signs of pregnancy or a missed period and check in with your doctor, your blood sample will be collected. Blood tests usually discover early pregnancy which is not possible with the common home pregnancy tests (HPT).
Through blood test, you can know your pregnancy status around 6 to 8 days after you ovulate. The two types of blood tests that can detect early pregnancy are:
Quantitative Blood Test
This is also known as beta hcg test. It checks the actual number of hcg in the blood. Even when the hcg level is very low, this test can still ascertain your pregnancy status.
The benefit of doing a quantitative blood test is that it can track if there is a problem with the pregnancy. It can be used along with some other tests to ensure that the fetus is not growing outside the womb. If this occurs, the pregnancy will be termed as ectopic.
Additionally, this test can be used when there is a miscarriage, to ensure that problems do not arise later.
Qualitative Blood Test
This test is not entirely reliable for detecting early pregnancy because it works like the home pregnancy test. The only difference is that it is done with a blood sample while home PT can be done with a urine sample.
Qualitative blood test only looks out for the presence of hcg in the blood sample. It can only tell if you are pregnant or not. However, there are some qualitative blood tests that can detect early pregnancy.
Pregnancy Test Via Urine Sample
Video: How To Do A Pregnancy Test At Home
This video explains how you can carry out a urine pregnancy test at home.
Pregnancy test can be done using a urine sample. This can be carried out either in the laboratory or at home. Most times, this test is preferably done at home thus the name home pregnancy test (HPT).
Home pregnancy test strips are sold in drug stores. You can also buy test strips on Amazon. The benefit of this method is the level of privacy it offers. It is affordable and the test result can be read easily.
This test detects the hcg level in urine and it is usually accurate. However, its validity is dependent on a number of factors. These include:
How the Test Is Being Carried Out
It is important to always check for the expiry date of any product and the home pregnancy test strip is not an exemption. When you use an expired strip, you are less likely to get an accurate result.
Also, ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s instruction. Usually, this test is done by dipping the strip into a urine sample. For best results, this test can be carried out with early morning urine.
You need to dip the strip to a particular level and wait for some minutes. This is dependent on the type of strip being used. The strip will have a control line which determines whether the strip is faulty or not.
The absorbed urine will be seen travelling through the strip. After about ten (10) minutes, if you see one line in the control section, it means you are not pregnant. But if you see two lines, one on the test line and the other on the control, you are pregnant.
The lines may be faint, but it doesn’t matter. Again, depending on the type of strip, you should look out for a plus (+) sign, line or color change.
Currently, there are digitalized strips that show “not pregnant” or “pregnant.”
What Time the Test Is Carried Out
Home pregnancy test cannot detect early pregnancy. So, if you use the strip immediately after you miss a period, you may get a negative result. This can get you worked up especially if you have been trying to get pregnant.
As the pregnancy develops, the hcg level in your urine will be on the increase. It is advisable to carry out a pregnancy test few weeks after you have missed your period. But if you keep getting a negative result and you strongly believe that you are pregnant, check in with a doctor.
Hcg levels differ for different women. The result may be positive few days after you have missed your period while for some people, it may not be so. It all depends on the level of hcg present in the urine.
As soon as you confirm that a positive pregnancy, using the home pregnancy test kit, check in with your doctor. It is wise to commence prenatal classes early and get the best health care for you and the growing fetus.
In carrying out a pregnancy test, the result may be false positive. This situation means that you are not pregnant, but the test says you are.
A false positive pregnancy is usually a rare case. But when this happens, we need to investigate the possible cause of this result.
What are the Causes of A False Positive Pregnancy
Video: What Can Cause A False Positive Pregnancy Test?
This video explains the reason behind a false positive pregnancy test
Error in Strip Usage
When carrying out a home pregnancy test, the manufacturer’s instruction should be strictly adhered to. If you dip the strip above the max line or read the result earlier, you may get a wrong result.
More so, if you allow the strip to stay for too long before checking the result, the lines may have evaporated. After about ten (10) minutes of carrying out the test, any result you see after then may be erroneous.
The result may originally have one line in the control. Since it has been left for long, as the urine evaporates, another line will be formed on the test line. This line may be faint but because it is on the test line, it can be misinterpreted to be a positive result.
Your pregnancy result will be false positive if you have used a faulty strip or an expired strip. When you use an expired strip, the chemical that detects hcg levels must have expired as well. Hence a wrong result will be seen.
It has been discovered that when a woman is on fertility drugs, it can increase her hcg level. If she becomes too excited and decides to take a test, the result may be false positive.
Chemical pregnancy may occur if an egg is fertilized but the implantation was unsuccessful. As a result of the fertilization, the hcg level will be high and the test will read it as positive. So, technically the woman is pregnant, but she isn’t.
The woman may not be aware about what is going on, but it isn’t any fault of hers. What causes chemical pregnancy is not entirely certain. It is however believed that the fault is from the uterus of the woman.
Video: Ectopic Pregnancy, Animation
This video gives a detailed explanation on all you need to know about ectopic pregnancy.
This is a type of pregnancy where the fetus does not grow in the uterus. It could be in the abdomen, ovary, cervix or fallopian tube.
Since it is impossible for the fetus to continue growing in such condition, it becomes a medical problem. This condition, if not properly taken care of, can endanger the life of the woman.
As a result of the pregnancy, the body will produce pregnancy hormones. So, if a test is done it will be positive even when the fetus was wrongly implanted.
Please check in with your doctor if you notice one or more of these symptoms:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Severe abdominal pain
- Sharp pain in neck, shoulder or rectum
- One sided body pain
When you miscarry a pregnancy, the pregnancy may be lost but the pregnancy hormones will still be present for a while. So, a pregnancy test result will be false positive if it is done around that time.
Depending on the way the miscarriage occurred, some pregnancy tissues may still be intact. This is where an evacuation becomes necessary. However, your body needs time to completely drain the pregnancy hormones that were initially produced.
If your pregnancy test result is false positive, it may be as a result of a health condition. They include:
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
- Kidney disease
- Cancer of the kidney, lung, ovary, stomach, liver, bladder, colon, and breast.
- Gestational trophoblastic disease. This can result in tumors growing in cells that should naturally constitute the placenta. This condition is also referred to as molar pregnancy.
- Ovarian cyst
- Problems that distort the normal hormone levels of the body and the pituitary gland.
If you are trying to conceive, your doctor will place you on fertility medication. Some of the drugs you will be given are known to release hcg. A number of these fertility drugs are branded as Ovidrel, Profasi, Pregnyl, or Novarel.
These are aimed at stimulating your follicles to get your eggs ready to maturity. However, they can result in a false positive pregnancy due to the presence of hcg in the body. Hence, when you miss a period, wait for a few more weeks before carrying out a test.
Some other drugs can result in a false positive pregnancy. They alter the normal functioning of the endocrine system which produces hormones. These drugs include:
- Diuretics such as furosemide (Lasix and Diuscreen)
- Anticonvulsants such as barbiturates
- Anxiety reducing drugs such as alprazolam or diazepam
- Antipsychotics like chlorpromazine or clozapine
- Medications for Parkinson’s disease
We know that having a false positive pregnancy can be devastating. But it does not mean that you cannot get pregnant later.
You need to work with your health care provider to determine the best care for you. And if you have been trying to conceive, your doctor may refer you to a specialist who handles infertility cases.
Find a community of women who have experienced similar issue. You may be overwhelmed by the amount of information and encouragement such groups can offer.
Lastly, do not stay secluded. Speak to a therapist or a trusted member of your family. Always remember that you are not alone.