Dealing with a False Positive

Suspecting that you are pregnant can be both exciting and confusing. Taking that all-important pregnancy test should ideally confirm that you are expectant. However, testing for pregnancy at home can give you a positive result, only to find that you are not pregnant on further tests at your clinic. This turn of events is called a false positive.

Causes of A False Positive?

Though rare, the following reasons could explain why you would encounter a false positive:

  • Chemical pregnancy- this means that conception occurred but it was followed immediately by a miscarriage. This sometimes happens without the woman noticing.
  • Certain shots like the HCG trigger shot that fertility specialists use to trigger ovulation could influence a false positive result. The administered HCG could take up to 2 weeks to clear from the system thus will test positive in the urine.
  • Urine evaporation lines- when using a home pregnancy test kit it is always important to follow the instructions given more so the time frame given. If the time lapses a urine evaporation line that mimics a second line on your home kit could appear and give you a false positive result.

Certain medical conditions that could produce a false positive include:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney disease
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Ovarian cancer

Retesting for Pregnancy

It is recommended that you take a pregnancy test at least a week after the appearance of an evaporation line.

Having a blood test is the best way to lay any doubts concerning conception to rest.

What to Do After a Pregnancy Test Result

Whether a false positive or negative, the result often carries different emotional responses in the women involved. Dealing with these emotions is a vital process to recovery from the disappointment of a false positive to the joy of a false negative.

Dealing with False Negative

This outcome may come with a lot of mixed emotions. It is important then that you take one step at a time.

  • Accept your new status.
  • Talk to a friend or a partner about how you feel.
  • Once the dust settles, plan for antenatal clinics.

Dealing with A False Positive

This could be particularly devastating. Following the following tips should help with your emotions;

  • Talking about it with a close friend or partner.
  • Move past it quickly
  • Writing out exactly how you feel. This is considered therapeutic.
  • Consult a doctor if there is any other concern

Whatever the outcome is, always remember to breathe in deeply before making your next move.


Please note that development differs from one child to another. 

Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.

Be careful when using any products mentioned on this website. We hold no regulations for such products or their providers.

Last reviewed March 2019

Sources: healthline, thebump, rd, babble

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