How to Read an Analog Pregnancy Test
There’s nothing that compares to the few minutes between peeing on a home pregnancy test stick and potentially receiving live-changing information. When those urine test results begin to appear, make sure you know how to read them!
By Halle Tecco
There is a surge in purchases of analog pregnancy tests. They are just as accurate as digital tests, better for the environment, and less expensive. But they do require a little interpretation, so let’s get to the basics.
- The Natalist Pregnancy Test is over 99% accurate when used correctly—so be sure to read all the pregnancy testing instructions before you start.
- It’s best to test first thing in the morning when your urine is most concentrated. If you’re pregnant, there will be more hCG for the home pregnancy test to detect. This is especially important if you’re taking the urine test before your expected period. If you take it later in the day, make sure you don’t drink a lot of liquid in the hours before pregnancy testing.
- Notice the arrow— be careful not to pee above this arrow or on the test window. It could invalidate your urine pregnancy test results.
How to Read a Pregnancy Test
The test window can show two lines: the control line (C) to make sure the test worked and the test line (T) that appears if there’s a positive result.
Two lines, no matter how faint, is a positive test result.
It is extremely rare, but if no lines show up, the test didn’t work. This could mean the absorbent tip wasn’t saturated with enough urine, urine got above the arrow, or the urine pregnancy test has expired. Grab another early result pregnancy test, try again, and please let us know.
If only the control line (C) shows up, the test is negative. A negative test result means the test did not detect the pregnancy hormone (hCG) in your urine. A false-negative result (when the pregnancy test is negative, but you’re actually pregnant) can happen for 2 reasons:
- Either your urine was too diluted (don’t drink a lot of liquid for a few hours before testing)
- It’s too early to detect a pregnancy. If you tested before your expected period, this could be the case. If you feel you’re pregnant, test again in a few days. hCG levels soar in early pregnancy—doubling every 48 hours. If you miss your period and still get a negative result, talk to your doctor.
If two lines show up, even if the test line (T) is very faint, that’s a positive—or pregnant result. If you are pregnant, that line should get darker every day as the pregnancy hormones surge.
Common questions about pregnancy tests
While pregnancy tests can seem straightforward, it’s common to have some confusion or questions about them.
When will my results show up and how long will they last?
Check your results after 5 minutes—and make sure to read within 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, the results may not be accurate.
One line is darker than the other. Am I pregnant?
If you see 2 lines, even if one is darker than the other, that’s a positive, pregnant result. If your test is positive, see your doctor to talk about what’s next.
My test line is really faint. What’s going on?
A few possibilities here. If you see the test line (T) at all, that’s a positive, pregnant result. If you’re straining to find a faint line, it may be too early to test or your urine is too watered down. Test again in a few days.
My test is negative. What does that mean?
If you see a control line (C) but don’t see a test line (T), the test couldn’t detect hCG in your urine. You either don’t have enough hCG in your urine yet, or you’re not pregnant. If you think you could be pregnant, test again in a couple of days.
What time of day should I test for pregnancy?
If you’re testing before your expected period, it’s best to test first thing in the morning (when your urine has a higher concentration of hCG), but you can test any time of the day. Keep in mind that drinking a bunch of liquid in the few hours before testing can dilute your urine and cause a false negative result (meaning you could be pregnant, but the test will show you’re not).
What day of my cycle should I take a pregnancy test?
You can use the Natalist Pregnancy Test starting 5 days before you expect your period to start. For the most accurate results, test on the day of your expected period. If you get a negative result and tested more than 3 days before your expected period, you could still be pregnant (see chart). Take the test again in a few days. Since it would be really early in your pregnancy, you may not have enough hCG for the test to detect yet. In just 2 days, your hCG levels will usually double. The more hCG your body makes, the more likely you are to get a positive result.
I have irregular periods. When should I test for pregnancy?
Fifteen percent of women have irregular periods, which can make it harder to predict when to test. If this is you, try counting at least 14 days from when you had sex. If your test says you’re not pregnant and you think you might be, test again in a few days.
So while pregnancy tests can seem as if they’re straightforward, it’s easy to run into challenges like faint lines and no lines. Understanding and determining when to test can also give you clearer and better results.