Pregnant or Not: What a Blank Pregnancy Test Means

Several years ago, one of my friends from college messaged me about a blank pregnancy test. I think her exact words were something like, “what if no lines show on a pregnancy test?”

I hadn’t even thought it was possible since any time I’ve ever taken one in my whole life (even when I was young and not ready to be a mama), there was always that other line.

It’s been a few years since this conversation, but it came up when I was catching up with her recently. And I thought there must be some of you out there wondering about these things.

What if no lines show on a pregnancy test?

While there are different kinds of pregnancy tests, most will have a line or two in a window that will show you your results. That second line to show pregnancy may be so faint that it’s hard to see for those supremely early in pregnancy. When you’re further along, though, it should be unmistakable.

Mostly, it either means you’re not pregnant, or you’re too early in pregnancy to detect human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), that pregnancy hormone.

There are certain signs that indicate you’re possibly pregnant without even a test.

Why is my pregnancy test blank?

With these styles of pregnancy tests, that first line should be there as a control. This is to let you know the test kit is working correctly. There is always a control image or word no matter which tests you use, so be sure you’ve read all the instructions before you use it to make sure you understand.

When you have a blank pregnancy test, it means that something is wrong with the test. This could mean that it is just faulty, perhaps by not being appropriately stored or ruined at some point.

Another reason is that it could be expired. Before buying any pregnancy test, check the date on the box to ensure it hasn’t gone past its prime. On the outside, it’s wise to check, but inside the box, you should check too once you’ve bought it to be sure it matches that outside expiration date.

girl upset after pregnancy test

It could also be that you didn’t read the instructions properly or that you bought a different brand than you’ve used in the past, and this one had different instructions than you’re used to.

Either way, you’ll need to get a new pregnancy test and try again if it’s blank.

Can you reuse a pregnancy test if nothing showed up?

Short answer: no, you can’t reuse a pregnancy test when nothing shows up.

When your urine contacts a home pregnancy test (HPT) stick, a reaction occurs, even if nothing shows up. Even if you accidentally splashed it with a drop of water from washing your hands.

If you reuse an HPT that has gotten wet with your pee or water, it could lead to a false positive even if this liquid has dried already. A used test is finished, so the results may be completely incorrect if you try using it again.

You’ll need to get a new test and follow directions properly to see if you’re pregnant.

Tips for taking a home pregnancy test:

  • If possible, take your test first thing in the morning when you first have to pee (you’ll have the highest concentration of pregnancy hormone at this time of day)
  • Don’t open the test until you’re ready to take it
  • Be sure your hands are clean and completely dry before you open the test kit
  • Read all directions on the pregnancy test before using it
  • Do not disturb the test until you have waited the correct amount of time for it to process

If you take 2 different tests from different brands and get different results, you’ll want to get new tests. I advise, though, that you visit your doctor to find out for sure…especially if your period hasn’t shown up when it should. This way, you’ll know what’s going on and have complete confirmation on whether or not you’re pregnant!

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