The short answer is YES. Over-the-counter pregnancy tests are a quick and convenient way to know if you’re pregnant, but they’re nowhere near 100 percent reliable.

There are false negatives, false positives, and every result in between. There are a lot of reasons why you might feel pregnant but end up with a negative result .

  1. You’re pregnant, but you’re testing too early

You know how pregnancy tests say you can “test 5 days sooner!” on the package? That refers to how many days before your expected period you can test yourself and get an accurate result.

But if you read the fine print, the likelihood of accurate results starts out kinda small at the 5-day mark, increasing as you get closer to your period.

The easiest solution here is to simply wait a few days, or even all the way until you’re past due for your period (hard to do, we know!). Even re-testing again in 72 hours, though, could land you a different result.

  1. You’re pregnant, but your hormone levels are too low for an at-home test

Time to consider the time of day you peed on the stick. If you’re very newly pregnant, your hCG levels (that’s human chorionic gonadotropin, for the uninitiated, a hormone produced by a growing placenta) could still be on the lower side, especially later in the day when your urine is more diluted by what you’ve had to drink.CAN I BE PREGNANT AND GET A NEGATIVE PREGNANCY TEST

For more accurate results, test yourself first thing in the morning so you’re using your most potent urine and most effective!

  1. You’re pregnant, but you’re overly hydrated

The more diluted your urine is, the less hCG will be present — and the less likely you are to get a positive result. What dilutes your urine? Water!

  1. You’re pregnant, but you misused the test

Even though they’re pretty straightforward, reputable pregnancy tests always include instructions. If you didn’t pee on the right part of the testing strip, didn’t lay the test down flat and faceup, or if you let it sit for too long on your bathroom vanity before checking, it can mess up your results.

  1. You’re pregnant, but you bought a faulty test

Just like any other mass-manufactured product, pregnancy tests can arrive at the store damaged, expire on the shelves or in the back of your bathroom cabinet, get exposed to too-high or too-low temperatures during transit, or just… not work.

  1. You’re pregnant, but something might be wrong 

Because we like to keep you in-the-know, there are some less-common scenarios that can lead to a false negative on a pregnancy test: e.g Ectopic pregnancy

Over-the-counter tests you can take at home are an ultra-private and convenient way to get a quick answer to the question, “Am I pregnant… or is this just a food baby?”

But even if you are actually pregnant, that drugstore test might not give you the right result.

Everything from medications to medical conditions to the time of day you take the test can mess with that positive and negative sign. The only way to know for sure is to head to your doctor’s office and get a more foolproof result.



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