What Does A Faint Positive Pregnancy Test Mean? An Expert Explains

Ad failed to load

There are two primary ways to feel about taking an at-home pregnancy test. If you're trying to conceive, you probably feel excited and a little nervous as you sit down on the toilet to pee on the stick. If your possible pregnancy was an accident, you may feel more ambivalent or downright scared. Either way, you're in for a nerve-wracking few minutes as you wait for the result to appear. The only thing worse than not getting the answer you hoped for is an ambiguous answer. What does a faint positive pregnancy test mean? Experts say there are several possibilities.

"Typically, this means that the test is detecting a low level of beta-HCG in someone with a very early pregnancy," Adrienne Zertuche, OB-GYN at Atlanta Women's Healthcare Specialists, tells Romper. "If you find yourself with a faint positive test, I would recommend repeating it in two days." So if you are trying to conceive, there is reason to be cautiously optimistic. If you weren't planning to have a child at this point in your life, a faint positive isn't a guarantee that a baby is on its way.

What happens next will depend on the result of the second pregnancy test. According to Zertuche, "If the repeat test is negative, you probably had a 'chemical pregnancy.'" This means you were pregnant for a short time, but the pregnancy ended on its own for some reason. Women who get a faint positive as a result of a chemical pregnancy should expect a menstrual cycle soon. Again, this may either come as a huge disappointment or a relief depending on your circumstance.

Ad failed to load

On the other hand, "If the repeat test is positive, then you should call your obstetrician about getting scheduled for a visit to confirm your pregnancy with in-office testing and possible ultrasound," says Zertuche. If this is an intended pregnancy, you can now celebrate with sparkling apple cider and a creative way of sharing the news with your partner. (You may want to wait out the first trimester before sharing the news with the wider world.)

If your pregnancy was accidental and you're not sure whether or not you want to have a baby, it's still a good idea to see your doctor. Your OB-GYN can discuss all of your options with you.

Ad failed to load

Either way, you're not alone in this experience. "Faint positive home urine pregnancy test results are fairly common," says Zertuche. Part of the reason for the common phenomenon of faint positives may be the growing number of at-home tests that promise the earliest possible results. In some cases, you may be able to take a pregnancy test even before you've missed your period. These "early test" products satisfy the demand from women who are trying to get pregnant and want to know as soon as possible if they succeeded. However, they can also cause confusion and pain if a false positive leads to a firm negative the following week.

At the very least, a faint positive leaves you in limbo until it can be confirmed, which isn't that much different from simple waiting. You might be better off saving yourself $20 and just wait to test until a few days or so after your expected period.

Personally, I know how hard it is to wait. In the nearly a year it took for me to get pregnant with my first child, I went through many boxes of ovulation and pregnancy tests. I think I even had a faint positive or a downright negative test result a week or so before I found out I was definitely pregnant. Only in hindsight can I say that it was no big deal and everything worked out for the best.

Ad failed to load

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

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

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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