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What is a false negative?

Many women buy a pregnancy test after missing their period only to get a negative reading on the test. Some may be relieved that they are not pregnant, but still puzzled. After all, if you are not pregnant, then why is your period late? Other women may be disappointed because another month has passed and they are still not pregnant.

For some of these women, the results were simply incorrect. In other words, the test said “not pregnant” but the woman who took the test was indeed with child. This is known as a false negative.
There are a number of reasons why you could get a false negative reading on a pregnancy test. The first and most common test is that you have tested too early for the levels of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine to be sensed. If you have tested prior to missing your period, this is highly likely. You need to understand when to take a pregnancy test and how it works.

Another reason is that the particular test you have purchased is simply not sensitive enough to detect the levels of hCG in your urine. Some tests publish how soon they can detect this hormone in your urine right on the box. If you are ahead of that timeline, then you may have yourself a false negative.
If your urine is too diluted, the test will have a difficult time detecting hCG.

Many women are so nervous while taking a home pregnancy test that their technique leaves much to be desired. If the testing strip does not get adequate exposure to your urine, then the test cannot sense the hCG in your urine.

A final common reason for a false negative is improperly timing the test. If the test sits too long, you will likely get a false negative.

The best way to avoid a false negative is to carefully follow the instructions. Read all of the instructions completely before beginning the test.

If you believe you have gotten a false negative on a pregnancy test, purchase a new test and run it again. Be sure to select a pregnancy test that is sensitive enough to detect the levels of hCG you would be secreting at this juncture. (Read the information on the back of the box to find out when the test is able to tell you if you are pregnant.)

If you are still in doubt about your status, contact your doctor. Your physician can run a blood test to check for pregnancy. These are the most accurate tests available.
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More questions

The best timing for pregnancy testing is once you miss your period.
Ectopic pregnancies are fertilized eggs which implant themselves outside of the uterus. They must be terminated and can indicate future fertility issues.
Ovulation is the period during which you can conceive. Tracking ovulation can be tricky, but you can increase your chances of conceiving through math, prediction kits, or simple scientific observation.
Implantation bleeding is not a common experience, but some women do report small amounts of blood with or without cramping roughly a week or less before their anticipated period.
Pregnancy tests are only as good as the execution. Read all instructions to avoid getting inaccurate results on a home pregnancy test.
The best over the counter kits measure luteinizing hormone (LH).
There are many things that you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
How STD’s can affect your pregnancy, your baby and how you should deal with them during pregnancy.
Taking care of your body before and during pregnancy
Ovulation occurs just about two weeks after the first day of your period.