Give advice on women's health concerns.

Faint Line on Pregnancy Test

Faint Line on Pregnancy Test

A faint line on pregnancy test result means that the test has found pregnancy hormones in your urine. This article discusses the various causes behind this test result.
Kalpana Kumari
Last Updated: Dec 31, 2017
Home pregnancy test kits are commonly available in drug stores. These test kits offer privacy, convenience, and fast results. You only need to follow all the instructions given on the kit well in order to know your status on pregnancy. There are times when the results obtained are a bit confusing. One such case is the formation of a faint line on pregnancy test. It leaves you wondering whether you are pregnant or not, whether you have conducted the test properly or not, whether the kit was correct or not, and many more similar questions.

A typical home pregnancy test is designed to detect the presence of a hormone called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in the woman's urine. It is the hormone that is released right after the zygote (fertilized egg) has left the fallopian tube and attached itself to the uterine walls. The hCG is made by the cells of the placenta, which is a structure that forms during pregnancy to nourish the developing fetus. When the concentration of hCG is above 25 ml per liter of urine, the pregnancy test kit declares the test as positive. The hCG appears soon after conception. Its level rises with the progression in the pregnancy developmental stages. Thus, hCG acts as an excellent marker for the detection of pregnancy.

How to use the Test Kit?
To perform a test for pregnancy at home, you should use your very first urine in the morning. This urine contains high concentrations of hCG, and therefore, it gives you the most accurate result. The home pregnancy tests are of two types: dip tests and midstream tests. A dip test strip is dipped in a container filled with urine, whereas a midstream test strip is held in the midstream of urine. The appearance of two pink lines indicates that you are pregnant while a single pink line indicates that you are not.

Causes of Faint Line
There can be several reasons behind the appearance of a faint line on the pregnancy test. They are:
  1. The foremost cause is testing yourself for pregnancy too early, i.e., 6-7 days after sexual intercourse. At such a stage, the level of hCG is mostly not high enough to deliver a clear positive result. Therefore, you should wait for at least 15 days or till you miss a period to get an accurate result.
  2. Another cause may be chemical pregnancy, which is a pregnancy that lasts for a very short period of time, and is followed by a miscarriage before any other symptoms of pregnancy appear. The hCG hormone is detected in the urine since the implantation of the fertilized ovum in the uterine lining has already taken place in this situation. It is this hCG which gets detected as a faint line on the pregnancy test result.
  3. Sensitivity of the home pregnancy test kit is another possible reason behind the appearance of a faint positive result. The sensitivity of the kits differ from brand to brand. Some are designed to detect hCG levels as low as 20 milliliter per liter of urine, while some are made to detect the hCG levels as high as 50 milliliter per liter of urine. The former type of pregnancy test kit is more sensitive than the latter as it can detect the hCG presence even in low concentrations. If you use a home pregnancy test kit with less sensitivity, you may get a faint line even after 15-18 days of conception.
  4. Miscalculating the expected menstruation date is a possible cause of getting a faint line on the pregnancy test kit. Majority of women undertake the test after they miss their periods on the expected day. Such women should make sure that they calculate the expected menstruation dates accurately.
  5. Dilution of urine sample may give a faint line even if you are 15-20 days pregnant. For getting an accurate result, you need to use the first morning urine as a sample. This is because your urine gets diluted with frequency, and due to consumption of water or any other liquid.
  6. Improper execution of the instructions on the test kit user manual can lead to the appearance of a faint line. Usually, the time period between collecting the urine sample in the kit and reading the result is 5 minutes. If you extend this time period by even a minute, you are most likely to get a faint pink line.
  7. Some medications, which usually contain hCG can indicate the presence of this pregnancy hormone by forming a faint line. Therefore, you need to make sure that you are not taking any such drugs for about a couple of days prior to performing the pregnancy test.
Most of the home pregnancy test kits are 95% accurate in delivering the results. However, you can match their accuracy with that of clinical blood and urine tests. Therefore, it is never advisable to completely rely on the results obtained from the home pregnancy test kits. Rather, you should consult a medical professional for the confirmation of any result, either positive or negative.

Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.