pregnancy tests isolated on whiteWhen you are trying to get pregnant, the two-week wait can seem like a long time. However, once you have passed the date, you can take an early pregnancy test to see what your results were.

Some of my patients get a faint line on their test and wonder what it means. To that end, here are the reasons you got a faint line on your pregnancy test:

It’s early. If your line is faint on your test, it just means you took the test early in your pregnancy. Early pregnancy tests are designed to detect the pregnancy hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG, in your urine. Your body produces this hormone when you get pregnant by the cells that make up your baby’s placenta. As your pregnancy progresses, your body will produce more and more hCG.

You took the test improperly. Most early pregnancy tests are designed to react with your urine. If you do not take the test properly, you will get a different look on your results. My advice: Re-read the instructions and try again.

You see evaporation lines. Evaporation lines occur when the urine dries and leaves behind a residue that resembles a faint line. You see these most often when you view results after the time frame indicated in the instructions.

You didn’t take the test first thing in the morning. Many early pregnancy tests and home pregnancy tests advise women to take them first thing in the morning because the urine has the highest concentration of hCG present. When you take a test later in the day, your urine is more diluted and may result in a fainter line.

You had a chemical pregnancy. In some cases, the body produces hCG for a short time before an early miscarriage. This occurrence is referred to as a chemical pregnancy. By some estimates, 20 to 30 percent of pregnancies end in an early miscarriage. In many cases, the women will go on to have healthy pregnancies afterward, however.

Early pregnancy tests are an excellent way to determine if you had any luck getting pregnant. Take the test after the two-week wait, or 14 to 16 days after ovulation, for the most accurate results. If you get a faint line, make an appointment with your doctor to confirm your results. While a faint line can be disconcerting, 97 percent of the time it’s good news.


Kulich, M.D., Dr. Edward. “Faint Line on Pregnancy Test.” Web. 3 March 2014.

“Pregnancy Tests.” Web. 3 March 2015. <>

Kolp, M.D. Dr. Lisa. “My home pregnancy test showed a faint line. Am I pregnant?” November 2014. Web. 3 March 2015. <>