A negative pregnancy test
So, you’ve got a negative pregnancy test result. If you’re hoping to have a baby, it’s a real letdown.
Does a negative pregnancy test mean that you are not pregnant? The answer is – it depends. Maybe you did the test too early.
Trying to get pregnant is pretty exciting and, if you’re anything like me, it’s absolutely impossible to wait a whole two weeks or more till your period is due before doing a pregnancy test, so you’ll go for the most sensitive test you can and try to find out as early as possible.
It’s disappointing when you get a negative pregnancy test result – but, if you did do the test more than a day or two before your period is due, there’s often that question in the back of your mind – maybe I am pregnant?
What do I do after having a negative pregnancy test?
Pregnancy tests are not the only signs that you are pregnant; sometimes, negative pregnancy test or not, you’ll spot other early pregnancy symptoms, like extreme tiredness, swollen and tender breasts.
Unfortunately, these are sometimes pre-menstrual signs too – so they’re not the most reliable indication.
If you are really hoping to be pregnant, it’s easy to mentally reject a negative pregnancy test result and convince yourself that you really ARE pregnant.
While it’s understandable, you might be setting yourself up for even bigger disappointment if you then find out you’re definitely NOT pregnant.
The best thing to do after a negative pregnancy test is wait until three days after your period would normally be due – and take another test.
Dealing with disappointment after having a negative pregnancy test
If you’ve been trying for a baby and you’re faced with a negative pregnancy test result, it’s easy to get disheartened.
But try to keep in mind that the average couple in the peak of fertility, in their mid-twenties, will take on average four months before they fall pregnant.
When you think about all the factors that have to be in place for humans to fall pregnant, it’s amazing to think that six billion of us have actually made it to the planet.
And in the vast majority of cases, it took more than one or two months for the parents of every one of those six billion people to fall pregnant.
If you’ve have been trying to fall pregnant for six months or more and all you get is negative pregnancy test results, it’s wise to make an appointment with your doctor to make sure everything is OK.
What do I do if my period is late, but I’ve had a negative pregnancy test?
Periods aren’t always the most reliable things in the world. There’s lots of reasons why your period might be late. You might be pregnant – definitely a good reason for not getting your period on time.
But maybe you’re stressed (about being pregnant, or about not being pregnant) – which, ironically, is a big cause of irregular menstruation.
Other common reasons your period might be late include: illness (eg if you’ve had the flu); excessive weight-loss or weight gain over a short period; high levels of exercise; and various other reasons including thyroid problems or hormonal imbalance.
If you feel that you might be pregnant and your period is more than a week late, but you are still getting a negative pregnancy test result, make an appointment with your doctor.
There is a very small chance that you can still get a negative pregnancy test result even a week after your period is due because your body is producing low levels of the hCG hormone.
But if you’ve waited, re-tested (and you’re sure you’ve got the dates right), the best thing to do is to talk to your doctor to work out whether you are actually pregnant – or perhaps need to figure out why your menstrual cycle has become irregular.
For more information see conception.
By Fran Molloy, journalist and mum of four
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Last Published* May, 2023
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