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Home > Learn > Getting Pregnant > >Why Are The Lines On My Pregnancy Test Getting Lighter?

Why Are The Lines On My Pregnancy Test Getting Lighter?

Aug 10, 23 5 min

Are your pregnancy test progression lines getting lighter? This guide will walk you through what could be causing faint pregnancy test results. 

By OBGYN and fertility expert Dr. Kenosha Gleaton

The at-home pregnancy test strips have been a game changer for women. Before they were widely available at your local Target (and online !), women had to go to the doctor and get a blood test to confirm a pregnancy. Now that we can take these amazing tests in the privacy of our own home, you may run into issues or have questions such as, “What does a positive test strip look like?”

Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Today, let’s discuss what to do if your pregnancy test line looks lighter today than it did previously.

Should Pregnancy Test Lines Get Darker?

In general, yes, pregnancy test results should get darker early on as the pregnancy progresses. This is because the pregnancy hormone, hCG, typically doubles every two to three days during the first few weeks of pregnancy. After six weeks the levels will double about every four days, then levels will start to decrease when nearing the due date. [1] 

If you are taking a pregnancy test before the day of your expected period, and are indeed pregnant, the line will start as a faint line (a “squinter”) and get darker as time progresses.

Why Is My Pregnancy Test Line So Faint?

With home pregnancy tests, you’re likely to have questions about interpreting results as opposed to pregnancy tests done at your doctor’s office. One of these questions with a home pregnancy test is a light or faint line. Two lines on our pregnancy test, no matter how faint, is a positive result. But say you tested today and the line seems lighter than your test from yesterday—don’t panic. It could simply be that your urine was more diluted today, meaning it was harder for the test to detect the hCG. Test again in the morning when the hCG should be most concentrated.

If your pregnancy test progression lines get lighter or disappear, a couple of things could be happening:

  • If you tested with two brands that have varying levels of sensitivity, the results could look different. Try using the same brand test and comparing tests within the same brands.
  • The first result could have actually been an evaporation line, which is extremely frustrating. Learn more about the difference between an evaporation line vs a faint positive.
  • It could be a chemical pregnancy. A chemical pregnancy is a very early miscarriage that occurs when an egg is fertilized but does not fully implant into the uterus.

If you’ve missed a period and received a positive test result, but the next test is lighter, it could be due to any of those things listed above. If your period usually comes like clockwork and you still don’t see Aunt Flow in a week, take another test (ideally in the morning). Of course, you should reach out to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Natalist call to action featuring early result pregnancy test strip outside of packaging

I Got My Period After a Positive Pregnancy Test

It’s important to differentiate if you experienced your period or spotting. Spotting after a positive pregnancy test occurs in 15-20% of pregnancies in the first trimester. Spotting (aka implantation bleeding) is much lighter than most periods and lasts for a day or two. Spotting happens when the fertilized egg causes a little bit of lining to detach during implantation and is an early sign of pregnancy.

Getting your full period after a positive pregnancy test, on the other hand, could potentially be a chemical pregnancy. A chemical pregnancy is a very early miscarriage that occurs when an egg is fertilized but does not fully implant into the uterus. The bleeding associated with a chemical pregnancy is typically like a period, but can be heavier. If you test again and get a negative result, this could be the case. If you are having a chemical pregnancy, keep this in mind: research shows that women may be more fertile after chemical pregnancy. 

Ectopic Pregnancies

It is rare, but bleeding in early pregnancy that is heavier and/or accompanied by abdominal pain may indicate an ectopic pregnancy. [2] 

This is when an egg implants outside of the uterus, which can be life-threatening for a pregnant woman. In the case of ectopic pregnancy, hCG levels may be lower and/or rise abnormally. If the home pregnancy test is positive, but you suspect it could be an ectopic pregnancy, you will need to see your provider immediately for further blood testing or ultrasound to make the diagnosis.

Getting pregnant can be a difficult and confusing process. We at Natalist are here to serve you during this time. Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Immediate Dark Positive Pregnancy Test Result- What Does It Mean?

While it has been rumored that an immediate dark positive pregnancy test means twins, this is not necessarily the case, and there are other reasons why this could happen. An immediate dark positive result could mean that there's a high concentration of hCG in your urine, and the test is showing an immediate dark result due to the hormone level. One thing to note is that all home pregnancy tests are different and may detect hCG at different levels. The Natalist Pregnancy Test detects hCG with high sensitivity at 10 mIU/mL hCG.

When trying to get pregnant, it also helps to keep track of your menstrual cycle and ovulation. Understanding when and how often should you have sex during ovulation can greatly increase your chances of pregnancy. An ovulation test can also be helpful in determining when ovulation happens so you can plan intercourse accordingly.

The bottom line is if you notice a missed period and/or end up taking an at-home pregnancy test, keep in mind that both faint positive lines and immediate dark lines are possible. If you are concerned about your pregnancy test progress, it may help to track any signs or symptoms of pregnancy you may be experiencing and check with your doctor about questions.

Natalist Can Help

Testing for pregnancy can be anxiety inducing, which is why using a test you can trust is so important. For peace of mind and over a 99% accuracy rate, use Natalist early pregnancy midstream tests or test strips. If you are concerned about your results, speak to a healthcare provider about confirming pregnancy. Chances are that a lighter progression line could just mean your urine is more diluted, however there could be other causes that you should be aware of. Whatever result you’re hoping for, we’re wishing you all the best. Browse other Natalist products on our website, or read more on the Natalist blog. 

References:

  1. Edelstam G, Karlsson C, Westgren M, Löwbeer C, Swahn ML. Human chorionic gonadatropin (hCG) during third trimester pregnancy. Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2007;67(5):519-525. doi:10.1080/00365510601187765
  2. Ectopic Pregnancy. ACOG. FAQ155. July 2022. URL.

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