False Positive Pregnancy Tests

When you are trying to get pregnant these days, there’s no easier thing than to check to see if you are pregnant!

A woman can easily check if she’s pregnant or not using a home pregnancy test kit. The presence of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) hormone, can be detected by a home pregnancy kit. The hCG is a glycoprotein hormone which is produced by the human placenta after fertilization has taken place. The hormone is usually detected in the urine or blood of a pregnant woman. During the first stage of the pregnancy, only a little amount of hCG can be detected. That’s why it is advisable to wait after eight weeks of conception or after missing your menstrual cycle before testing with the home pregnancy kit.

The home pregnancy kits vary depending on the brand and each one has detailed instructions for users to accurately follow. Some kits require a woman to place a test stick in the stream of her urine. Others may use a urine collection cup to either dip a pregnancy stick in or to retrieve urine from with a dropper for placement on the test stick. Also, the way each kit reveals if the result is positive or negative depends on the brand. It can include a plus or minus sign, one or two indicator lines, or “pregnant” or “not pregnant” words. It is important for you to take note of even a faint plus sign or a line which indicates a positive result. It, however, doesn’t mean that a woman is pregnant when her pregnancy kit shows a positive sign. There are times when a pregnancy test can give a false positive reading and they are explained below.

Evaporation line on a pregnancy test

Most women have stated that some home pregnancy test kits usually have an evaporation line. It is possible for you to see where the testing line of some pregnancy kits if you stare and inspect a home pregnancy test closely. The test strip may change its color briefly when urine runs across it, which helps the woman know if she’s pregnant or not. At the determined testing time, the test will change color briefly and have a colored line when the test result is positive. If there is no color then you have to totally manipulate it to light to see a line, which could be an evaporation line. You should retest in a few days or use a digital test.

False pregnancy test caused by certain medications

There are some medications such as phenothiazine that can interfere with the result of a pregnancy test. Phenothiazine is used by women receiving hCG therapy to treat a the defect in the luteal phase or other fertility issues. It is advisable for you to consult your doctor If you are receiving such therapy, so as determine the accuracy of your pregnancy test kit and when you should perform your pregnancy test. Also, your urine can be contaminated occasionally with blood or excessive amounts of protein which leads to an inaccurate result.

False pregnancy test caused by certain medical condition

It is important for you to visit your doctor for advice if you receive a positive result from a home pregnancy test. Although, there are some uncommon medical conditions that can cause false positive results on a home pregnancy test. Also, there is an extreme form of cancer usually found in the uterus called choriocarcinoma which can cause boost in a woman’s level of hCG. Other types of conditions that can cause false positive result include breast, ovarian or testicular cancer.

Defective pregnancy tests

False positive results can also be caused by an expired test or a faulty home pregnancy kit. That’s why you need to check the expiration date before testing so that you can get accurate results. You should also keep in mind that an occasional defective test can occur even with the highest quality control.

Molar pregnancy

A molar pregnancy which is also called hydatidiform mole is a condition that causes a tumor to grow in the uterus. This condition is usually caused by genetic abnormalities at conception which results in an abnormal pregnancy. In a complete molar pregnancy, the mother’s chromosomes are not present, only that of the father’s, which leads to no embryo or placental tissue. A partial molar pregnancy has an embryo and a placenta. But the embryo has only one set of chromosomes from the mother and two sets of chromosomes from the father. This results in the embryo having 69 chromosomes instead of the normal 49. The placental tissue of a molar pregnancy forms in a way that looks like a bunch of grapes instead of a normal embryo and placenta. This is caused by the forming of a mass of small fluid-filled sacs, which needs to be removed with a dilation and curettage.

User error

Like most things in life, home pregnancy tests are also prone to errors. That’s why you need to follow the kit’s direction and check its expiry date before using. Even with these precautions, a user error can occur. One of the most common mistakes is taking the test too early during your cycle. It causes either a false negative or a false positive. Also, it is advisable for you to use the test when you first wake up in the morning when your urine is highly concentrated and has not been diluted excessively with water. Also, you should leave the test stick in your urine stream for the required time specified by the manufacturer. You might consider using a timer on your phone or stopwatch. It is also important to check your results during the required time frame.

Recent miscarriage or abortion

A woman can have a false positive result after a recent abortion or miscarriage. As the placenta grows, the hCG level of a woman continue to rise, and it doubles every few days and it peaks at around 10 weeks. When a pregnancy ends, hCG levels begin to recede, but it’s a slow process. After a pregnancy loss, the hCG hormone still remains in the blood and urine for more than six weeks. A false positive test can occur when the hCG level hasn’t returned to their pre-pregnancy state.