Q&A: What Is a False Negative?

What does it mean if I get a false negative on a home pregnancy test?
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ByDr. Debbra Keegan
Fertility Specialist
Updated
Jan 2017
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An example of a false negative test is a “negative” on a home pregnancy test, when in fact, you really are pregnant. This is most often due to taking the test too early in pregnancy or with very dilute urine, resulting in undetectable levels of pregnancy hormone in the urine. Different brands have different sensitivities, so check the package insert to make sure you are not testing too soon. Other reasons for false negatives may be an expired test or an improperly conducted test. Make sure you follow the instructions very closely, and check for expiration dates. If still left in doubt, call your doctor and discuss having a blood test which is the most accurate way of determining your status.

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