Pregnancy is a joyful time for many couples. There is a good deal of excitement surrounding the creation of a new life. However, for those who have struggled with trying to become pregnant, each month can be a heart-wrenching and challenging time. When you experience any variation in your normal menstrual cycle, you may rush to take a home pregnancy test. If symptoms suggest that you might be pregnant, but that home test reads negative, what does that mean? Could you still be pregnant? Understanding a few simple things can help you better navigate this situation.
How Your Cycle Works
Each woman’s cycle is very different. Every individual does not necessarily fit the average menstrual profile. Because menstrual cycles can vary so much, it is possible to get a negative home pregnancy test and still be pregnant. If you do get a negative test, don’t give up hope. According to the accepted OB/GYN wisdom, most women’s cycles span around 28 days. However, many women regularly experience cycle lengths of 32 days or more. In addition, even women who have average cycles can experience a menstrual cycle that is abnormally long. If you happen to conceive during an abnormally long cycle, you may unknowingly test prematurely, when there is not enought of the pregnancy hormone in your system for the test to read accurately. This can result in a negative home pregnancy test even though you have become pregnant.
HCG and Pregnancy Tests
The hormone that surges through your body upon pregnancy is called HCG. The standard home pregnancy test works by reading elevated levels of HCG. If HCG levels aren’t high enough, the home pregnancy test will read negative. There are several reasons why HCG levels may be undetectable, even if pregnancy has occurred. While your body will start increasing HCG as soon as your egg is fertilized, it isn’t until the egg implants in your uterus that the levels will spike significantly. Because of that, any test that you take before implantation occurs is likely to read negatively. Some tests are sensitive enough to pick up smaller levels of HCG and some women produce it more profusely, resulting in early positive readings. However, if that isn’t the case, you should test again in about a week to be sure of your results.
See Your Doctor
Regardless of the reason for the negative home pregnancy test, you can get greater peace of mind from seeing your doctor. Medically administered blood tests to detect pregnancy are more accurate and can give you more accurate results earlier than a home pregnancy test. They are also more reliable. Home pregnancy tests can lose potency, producing false readings. While the negative home test reading may be accurate, your doctor can confirm whether the negative result was wrong and you are, after all, pregnant.