How to read results on a pregnancy test strip
To determine whether a pregnancy test strip result is positive or not, you need to refer to the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the pregnancy test kit. Typically, a positive result will be indicated by the appearance of two lines on the test stick within the read time for the particular brand of pregnancy test strip that you have used. It's important to follow the instructions very carefully, and read the results at the correct time, to ensure accurate results. Always use a timer. If you are still unsure about the result, you may want to consult with a medical professional for confirmation.
Is a faint line on a pregnancy test a positive result?
A faint line on a pregnancy test can be an indication of a positive result, but it may also be a result of other factors such as an evaporation line, an expired or faulty test, or taking the pregnancy test too early in the pregnancy.
What is an evaporation line on a pregnancy test?
An evaporation line is a faint line that appears when urine evaporates from the test window, which can happen if you wait too long to read the test result. It can appear when the urine in the test window begins to evaporate, leaving a faint, shadow-like mark where the positive or negative result line would be.
Evaporation lines can be confusing and may be mistaken for a positive result, especially if the line appears within the time frame for reading the test result. To avoid confusion, it's important to read the test result within the recommended time frame specified in the instructions provided by the manufacturer of the test kit.
To minimise the chances of getting an evaporation line, it's recommended to follow the pregnancy test instructions very carefully using a timer, use the first-morning urine, and wait until the appropriate time to read the results. If you are unsure about the results, you can take another test a few days later or consult with a healthcare professional for confirmation.
Any line on a pregnancy test that appears after the test period has elapsed is invalid, and the test should be repeated.
What should I do if I get a faint line on a pregnancy test strip?
In general, any definite line on a pregnancy test that appears within the specified read time of the pregnancy test, no matter how faint, should be interpreted as a positive result. However, to be sure, it's recommended to take another pregnancy test in a few days on a first morning urine sample. If there is a viable pregnancy then you would expect to see the line on the pregnancy test strip get stronger and darker in colour when you retest, as the hcg levels increase.
For more information on reading early pregnancy test results see our Pregnancy test FAQ section