Over the past decade, pregnancy testing has transformed substantially and today it is no more a big deal. Considered to be one of the most convenient ways for the earliest detection of pregnancy, nowadays, there are so many test kits available in the market that not only claim to give accurate results but are inexpensive too. However, sometimes the results are not very clear and can leave you very confused or unsure about your pregnancy status.
How does a Pregnancy Test Work
☛ As we know, a woman is considered to be pregnant when the fertilized egg implants itself in the uterus lining. This implantation usually takes place 6 or 7 days after conception.
☛ Shortly after that, the placenta (tissue surrounding the developing baby) starts releasing a glycoprotein hormone called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) whose production increases as the pregnancy progresses.
☛ The test basically works by detecting the presence of this hormone in the urine. There are two ways of conducting this test. One is by holding the test strip in a container having urine and the other is by holding the strip against the stream of urine.
☛ The concentrations of the hCG hormone are evaluated in milli-international units (mIU) or amounts equal to 1/1000th of an IU per milliliter. The test detects the concentrations of hCG hormone, which are generally 25 mIU at 10 dpo (days past ovulation), 50 mIU at 12 dpo, and 100 mIU at 15 dpo.
☛ Hence, if the test shows one pink line, a woman is not pregnant, and if it shows two adjacent pink lines, she is pregnant. However, this is where most women get confused, as sometimes, instead of two adjacent clear pink lines there is only one very faint line.
☛ The good news is that even though the line is very faint, it can be a positive indication for pregnancy. But, what leads to such a faint positive line in the test results? Let us find out in the coming section.
Detection of a very faint line in a pregnancy test can be attributed to various possibilities. A few have been mentioned below:
► Testing Too Early
Since the placenta releases the hCG hormone after the implantation of the fertilized egg, which occurs 6 to 7 days after conception or ovulation, the test conducted within these days is bound to give a very faint line, as the amount of hCG released may not be sufficient to give accurate results. The hCG hormone concentration doubles every 2 to 3 days. So, for optimum results, it is recommended to conduct the test 10 – 12 days after ovulation.
► Diluted Urine
The next probable cause can be diluted urine, i.e., urine containing less amounts of hCG. The urine samples can become diluted due to frequent urination or consumption of liquids just before conducting the test. Hence, the best time to conduct the test is early morning, as the first urine in the morning contains maximum amounts of the hCG hormone.
► Test Sensitivity
If the test shows a very faint pink line, the kit may not be very sensitive. Hence, for the earliest detection of pregnancy, buy a sensitive test kit that will turn positive even if the amount of hormone is low. Always remember to buy a kit having a lower sensitivity number, i.e., a kit with a sensitivity of 20 IU/L will detect whether a woman is pregnant or not sooner than a kit having a sensitivity of 50 IU/L.
► Evaporation Line
Generally, the reaction time for most pregnancy tests is 5 minutes, hence one should read the results within the mentioned reaction time, else the urine will dry up on the test area and evaporation lines begin to show up. Hence, appearance of a very faint line on pregnancy test after 10 minutes is not an indication of a positive pregnancy. Rather, it is just an evaporation line.
► Chemical Pregnancy
Another unfortunate cause is a chemical pregnancy, also called an early miscarriage. Out here, initially an early pregnancy is detected, but later after a couple of days, the test shows negative pregnancy results. This happens when the egg doesn’t grow normally after getting implanted in the uterus lining, which results in an early miscarriage.
Using an expired pregnancy kit, certain pregnancy-related medications, or not following the test instructions properly, i.e., reading the test results before the stipulated reaction time can also contribute to the faint line. Hence, in order to confirm your pregnancy, don’t be in a hurry. Wait for some time till the hCG hormone rises to a sufficient level and then conduct the test. Else, verify your pregnancy through a doctor or medical practitioner.