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Is a Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test a Positive Test?

One of the most common questions I get is “does a faint line on a pregnancy test mean it's positive?” It's a good question, especially since pregnancy tests are becoming more and more sensitive. Faint lines are common but leave you wondering if you're really pregnant or if it's just a mistake.

Home Pregnancy Tests are Accurate

Pregnancy tests – even home tests – are very accurate. You can feel pretty sure that if you get a positive result, your test is in fact positive and you are pregnant!

The best way to be sure that your test is accurate is to read the directions that come with the test – and follow them exactly! I'm one of those girls who gets really nervous taking pregnancy tests – my hands shake constantly just from nerves and excitement. Because of this I prefer to use a cup to catch a sample, then dip my test or test strip in that. It's easier to make sure I'm following the directions exactly!

Test directions always include time periods for reading the test. You want to pay attention to these! If you read the test once the time period has passed (usually around 10 minutes) the results presented may not be accurate for you. A faint line on a pregnancy test after 10 minutes or so may actually be an “evaporation line,” also called a “ghost line.”

What is an “Evap Line?”

Evaporation lines happen when urine evaporates off of the pregnancy test strip or midstream test and leaves a faint line. Generally this line has no color or it's a dull gray.

These lines start to form when urine dries. It doesn't matter what kind of test you use – some women have urine that will leave them on any type of test. Other women's urine never causes an evaporation line. As I noted above, these lines usually form after the “window” of time for reading the test has passed. So after your test time is done (usually ten minutes), go ahead and throw the test away. Try a new test the next morning or in a couple of days if your period still has not come.

How to I Know Which Line it Is?

A true “faint positive” will usually have color to it. The color does vary based on the brand of your pregnancy test. Some tests have a pink line, others have a more purple line, and some give a blue line. The instructions that come with your test will tell you what to look for.

If your result shows up within the test “window” and has color to it,there's a good chance it's a valid test. Below are two pictures of my “faint” tests. One was taken 10 days post ovulation and the next 11 days post ovulation. The first one has a very faint purple line, and the second, a faint pink line. I now have a healthy, “faint line” little boy! I also got very faint line positive tests with my two older boys. Here are the tests:

my 11 days post ovulation positive pregnancy test

my 10 days post ovulation positive pregnancy test

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(NOTE: Want the Top Easy Steps to Boosting Your Fertility? Use these 5 simple, evidence-based steps to get pregnant and carry your healthy baby to term. Get them here.)

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