woman in boyshorts holding a pregnancy test with two faint lines

3 Reasons You're Getting a Faint Line on your Home Pregnancy Test

Whether you’ve been trying to make a baby or not, if you have early symptoms of pregnancy you’re going to be tempted to hit the drugstore and buy a home pregnancy test.

So, you drink some water and hit the bathroom with your pregnancy test. You follow the directions, wait the appropriate amount of time and with shaking hands you look at the test for your result.

But to your surprise:


It’s an extremely faint line on your pregnancy test. Like, barely visible. 



So of course you hop online and look for pictures of faint line positive pregnancy tests so you can compare yours, right? And you may drive yourself crazy trying to decide whether or not you’re pregnant.

Girl, I totally get it! I’ve been pregnant four times so I know how badly you need to know an answer right now.

But here’s the thing:

If the line is very faint, there may be a few reasons why:

Woman holding a white and blue pregnancy test

1) You’re Pregnant

A faint line on a test may mean that you are, in fact, pregnant. Some women find a strong line on their home pregnancy test and others find it hard to see a second line at all. 

The moment you become pregnant your body starts to make human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) 

The further along in your pregnancy, the more hCG your body makes. Home pregnancy tests are made to detect hCG in your urine. If you don’t have a lot of hCG in your pee, the test can’t detect it very well. In this case, a faint line would likely mean that you are pregnant, but probably very early along. 



Human Chorionic Gonadatropin (hGC) by the Week

Here’s a breakdown of the hCG present in an average pregnancy by weeks.

These are measured in milli-international units per millilitre of blood (mIU/mL):


3 weeks pregnant: 5 - 50 
4 weeks pregnant: 5 - 426 
5 weeks pregnant: 18 - 7,340 
6 weeks pregnant: 1,080 - 56,500 
7-8 weeks pregnant: 7,650 - 229,000 
9-12 weeks pregnant: 25,700 - 288,000 
13-16 weeks pregnant: 13,300 - 254,000 


When you see how much and how fast your hCG levels increase during the first few weeks, you can see how hard it may be for a home pregnancy test to detect whether or not you’re pregnant, right?

What to do: re-test using a home pregnancy test in a week or ask your doctor for a pregnancy test using your blood.


2) You Were Pregnant, But Aren’t Anymore.

This can be a hard one: an early pregnancy loss can mean that your levels of hCG did increase while you were pregnant. Like I said above, as soon as you become pregnant your body starts to produce the hormone hCG. 

You may feel confused because your period was very late and now you’re experiencing symptoms of your period, but your pregnancy test has a very faint line. This is because your body hasn’t had the chance to get rid of the excess hCG just yet. So, if you take the home pregnancy test while you’re having your period, you may be experiencing a very early miscarriage.

About 50-75 percent of miscarriages are experienced very early in pregnancy and the cause is usually an abnormality with the fertilized egg. Most women who experience an early miscarriage have no problems getting pregnant in the future.

What to do: there generally isn’t a specific treatment for early miscarriage, but you may want to see your doctor.


3) You’re Not Pregnant- Evaporation Line

An evaporation line is caused when your warm urine creates a little bit of evaporation on the stick and it leaves a very faint line. 

It’s really hard to tell the difference between a positive pregnancy line and an evaporation line.

The big difference between the two is that the evaporation line typically appears long after the length of time it takes to get your results. 

What to do: follow the instructions on your test exactly. Once you’ve taken the test and the time limit for reading the results is up, throw the test away. If there’s a faint line and you’re not sure what it means, try another test or wait a week and try again.

Image of home pregnancy test on pink and green background

How to Get the Most Out of your Home Pregnancy Test

The anticipation of finding out whether or not you’re expecting a baby is HUGE. I totally understand that you want some answers as quickly as possible.

Here are five things you can do to try to get the most accurate reading as possible!

  • Wait until your period is 7 days late

  • Take the test first thing in the morning when your urine is most concentrated

  • Follow the instructions as closely as possible

  • If you took the test and didn’t read the results within the time frame suggested (most are 3-5 minutes), throw the test away and try another one

  • If you’ve tested and there was a very faint line, wait 3 days and retest.


If you want to talk to someone about your pregnancy test, check out MamaSoup, the online community just for moms.

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