antoniodiaz/Shutterstock

Here's What A Missed Period & A Negative Pregnancy Test Actually Means

By
Share
Ad failed to load

I'm going to go ahead and assume your mind was racing the moment you bought that over-the-counter pregnancy test, be it with hope or fear or both. Hey, some period cycles are predictable — down to the hour, really — but others are a crap shoot of stained underwear proportions. Either way, if you're sexually active the absence of your period could signal pregnancy. So what does it mean if you missed a period but got a negative pregnancy test? Turns out, there are a few things that might've happened, according to the experts.

Dr. Shawn Tassone, of Austin Area Obstetrics, Gynecology & Fertility, wrote in Pregnancy Corner that different tests provide different results, depending on where you're body is at. If you are, in fact, pregnant, but your test yields a negative result, it may be too early for the pregnancy hormone — Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) — to be detected. The farther along you are in the pregnancy, the higher this hormone is and, as a result, the easier it is to yield a positive pregnancy test.

If you've taken a pregnancy test after a missed period, and it turns out negative, you might want to wait a week and take a different test. Dr. Tassone went on to explain further, writing, "false negative tests happen more often than you might think." While there can be other underlying causes, it's important to rule out pregnancy completely before going about your day as, well, any other day.

Ad failed to load
Ashley Batz/Romper

Another reason for a false negative could be misuse of the test itself. The Medical Review Board on Very Well adds that waiting too long to read pregnancy test results, or using an expired test (make sure you check!) can also give the test taker a false negative. In fact, even the environment in which the test was scored could impact the test itself. If it's been in a humid environment, for example, it could be compromised and you'd be better off buying another.

If, however, you've gotten a false negative, waited, and taken a secondary test to confirm and your period has yet to arrive, don't panic. Menstrual cycles are notoriously delicate. Even if you've always been on a regular schedule, the slightest change in mood or lifestyle might alter when your period arrives, according to What To Expect. A variety of underlying causes could be to blame, too. Things such as stress, jet lag, breastfeeding, eating habits, medication side effects, and lifestyle can prolong your period. It's important to note what's going on in your life to eliminate factors that are "easily" fixed — such as getting more sleep or altering your diet — before assuming otherwise.

Ad failed to load
Ashley Batz/Romper

If you're still concerned, a doctor's appointment may be in order. Other reasons for a negative pregnancy test, as Healthline notes, include conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), thyroid abnormalities, premature menopause, or even an ectopic pregnancy — a pregnancy that occurs when a fertilized egg travels to a fallopian tube, abdominal cavity, or cervix instead of attaching to the uterus — which can be dangerous, and potentially fatal.

If you have symptoms such as "sharp waves of pain in the abdomen, pelvis, shoulder, or neck, severe pain that occurs on one side of the abdomen, light-to-heavy vaginal spotting or bleeding, dizziness or fainting, and/or rectal pressure," you should seek medical help immediately. The American Academy of Family Physicians adds that an ectopic pregnancy happens in 1 of every 50 pregnancies, so if you've taken the proper steps to confirm a second test, but things still don't feel quite right, call your doctor.

Ad failed to load

While it's discerning, there are many reasons for a late period, despite a negative pregnancy test. If you've ruled out the most common explanations, and still haven't started your cycle, go see your doctor. It's the most absolute way to get the answers you deserve.

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

8 Things That *Will* Go Wrong Every Time You Plan A Kid-Free Night

The last time my husband and I went out to dinner alone was… actually, I can’t remember. But I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen a movie in a theater in the last year. Before we had children we used to go out all the time. But even with …
By Liza Wyles

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

11 Ways Your Pregnancy Will Be Different If You Have A Boy Vs A Girl

If you've been pregnant before, you might start comparing your previous pregnancies to that of your current pregnancy. A lot of things can change from pregnancy to pregnancy, based on a whole host of different factors (including how well you remember…
By Lauren Schumacker

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

12 Moms Share How They Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Unfortunately, we're in the middle of the roughest flu seasons in recent memory. And we’re not totally out of the woods, either. People around the country are still getting the flu, and, sadly, some of them are having to be hospitalized due to flu-re…
By Priscilla Blossom

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack