Initial Pregnancy: False Positive

We hear this question all the time. “I just took an at-home pregnancy test and it shows that I’m pregnant! Is there any chance it could be wrong?” This question comes from women on both sides of the fence, those hoping that the test could be inaccurate, and those hoping so badly to get pregnant that they don’t believe the evidence before them.

Because of this, we have developed a checklist of questions to make sure that the positive you are seeing is a true positive pregnancy…

Are you absolutely sure you took the test according to the package directions and did not leave it too long before checking?

We ask this question because each test has its’ own guidelines to follow when testing. Almost all tests suggest using your first morning urine, and reading the test within 7-10 minutes after testing. If the test is left too long, lines can appear from the urine evaporating and look like a positive marker.

Have you eaten beets, carrots, saffron, anything urine-colored recently?

This is the same idea to the evaporation lines. Food-dyed urine can appear as a positive marker line in the test box, although it will not turn blue or pink.

Have you recently had a miscarriage?

We hate to think this, but if a woman is insistent that she can’t be pregnant, that is one of our most useful questions. After a miscarriage, it can take some time for your body’s hormones to revert to normal. This means that a pregnancy test could be reading your hCG from the last pregnancy.

Are you taking any medications?

There are several prescriptive medications that can trigger a false positive on a pregnancy test. Fertility medications are among the highest culprits, followed by diuretics and anti-anxiety meds. We can help you sort through your medications and determine if one might be causing a false positive, or you can do your research. Just know it’s a possibility.

How are you feeling otherwise?

With this question, we’d like to know if you are experiencing any other signs and symptoms of pregnancy or if there may be an illness or disease that is providing the positive. Urinary tract or kidney infections, PCOS, and ovarian cancer can also trigger a false positive.

With those questions, it’s helpful to determine whether a positive is most likely a true positive. This is why we call a pregnancy test a probable sign of pregnancy. They are not foolproof and nothing is 100% positive until we hear that little heartbeat or see the little peanut floating around. Pregnancy tests will also show positive for a chemical (extremely early pregnancy that never implanted) or an ectopic pregnancy (a fertilized egg that attached inside the fallopian tubes). Neither of these pregnancies will lead to a healthy baby, but they are still considered pregnancies nonetheless. To rule these out, Doppler or ultrasound technology must be used.

So, depending on how you answered the questions, congratulations. Your positive is most likely a true positive and we’d love to hear from you.

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