How do you interpret an extremely faint line on pregnancy test ?

This is a common question when you are using ultra-early detection pregnancy test strips and one that can cause a lot of heartaches. The photograph below was supplied by a customer asking this very question. In fact, when we first looked at the photograph we could not see any line at all.

Our advice would be to ignore a line as faint as this and count it as a negative. Wait 48 hours and repeat the pregnancy test using a first-morning urine and see if the line is any stronger. Alternatively, you could try using a digital pregnancy test as this does not require the interpretation of lines.

We have recently heard about an online trend for digitally enhancing faint lines on pregnancy test strips to make them look more positive. This is not a good idea and will only lead to false hopes. The faint line that you are seeing me just be the test medium that is embedded into every test strip. If you digitally enhance this it may look like a positive, when it is, in fact, a negative. Some people mistakenly interpret these extremely faint lines as false positives when in fact they were negative.

Faint line pregnancy test
An extremely faint line on a pregnancy test strip

What we are looking for is a BFP (Big Fat Positive ) and this should be obvious to the naked eye. You should be able to see it clearly and it should not require a magnifying glass or digitally enhancing. It should resemble the Control line that is very clearly visible on this test strip above. As the pregnancy progresses the test line will get stronger in colour as more pregnancy hormone is present in the urine.

If you would like more information read our FAQ section about using ultra-early detection pregnancy tests and the pros and cons

 

When to seek help

In view of the e-mail we received yesterday thought it may be helpful to run over when it is time to ask for help when trying to conceive.

The age of the woman is very important when deciding when to seek help.

If the woman is under 35 years of age

As a general guideline most GP’s will not refer you for infertility investigations until you have been trying to conceive for 12 months unless there is a medical history to suggest referral should be earlier eg previous known infertility in either partner

If the woman is over 35 years of age

In this case referral is usually much quicker as fertility in woman declines more rapidly after 35 years of age. Most GP’s would refer a couple where the woman is over 35 years after they have been trying for 6 months or more.

It is important to note that these are only guidelines and that each case is treated individually.