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What Does a Blank Pregnancy Test Mean?

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Are blank pregnancy tests the same as tests that come back negative?

When taking a pregnancy test, those few minutes of waiting can feel like an eternity. During this time, women feel a wide range of feelings that are hard to describe. You might feel happy, nervous, and excited all at the same time. But think about how sad and angry you'd be if the test came back negative. This happens more often than you might think, which is a shame.

Getting a blank result on a pregnancy test can be frustrating for any woman. You might feel like all that pain was for nothing. But it's important to know that a "null" result on a pregnancy test does not always mean that you are not pregnant. In fact, it just means that there was a mistake, which could happen for many different reasons.

Why do blank pregnancy tests happen?

The traditional pregnancy test kit uses lines to show if you are pregnant or not. If you see two lines, that means you're pregnant. If you only see one line, that means you're not. Even if you are not pregnant, the first line will show up. This means that the test kit was used correctly. This first line is called the control line, and its presence is a sign that your test is working correctly.

Some newer home pregnancy tests show the results on the control window as a picture or even as words. Before you use the test kit you bought, make sure you understand how it works and what the symbols mean.

What Does "Blank" Mean on a Pregnancy Test?

A lot of people think that a pregnancy test that comes back blank is the same as a test that comes back negative. But that's not right. There are many things that can cause a pregnancy test to come back negative. So, before you jump the gun and start celebrating, getting upset, or getting confused about that blank result, take a minute to read and find out what it means and what could have caused it.

In short, don't worry if a pregnancy test comes back empty. Take a deep breath and read the directions that come with the test kit. There are many things that could have caused you to get a blank result, and some of them are easy to fix. If you don't know what to do next, talk to your doctor or another medical expert.

Why a pregnancy test should be blank

Bad Test Kit

One of the easiest explanations for a blank pregnancy test is that it was made wrong. It's possible that you bought a bad test kit or one that wasn't made correctly. When test kits aren't stored or handled properly while being shipped, they can become broken. This can lead to a blank result. This happens more often with digital tests because digital parts are fragile and can get broken easily if they are not stored correctly. Also, many home pregnancy tests don't work as well as they say they do. Always buy pregnancy test kits that are FDA-approved to make sure they are accurate.

Pregnancy Test Kit That Has Expired

A pregnancy test kit that is out of date is another very common cause of birth defects. Before you buy a kit, you should always check the date it was made and when it goes bad. A pregnancy test that has passed its expiration date will give you wrong or no results. Even if you have extra pregnancy test kits at home, they can still go bad. Check the date on the box and the date on the kit inside.

Not Enough hCG

Pregnancy tests are only accurate when your levels of the hormone hCG, which shows that you are pregnant, are high enough to be picked up. The test can only tell if you are pregnant if you have enough hCG in your body. You might be pregnant, but your hCG levels might still be low. This happens when a woman is still in the early stages of pregnancy. When a home pregnancy test comes back positive, doctors recommend getting a blood test or sending in a blood sample to check the levels of hCG and find out how far along you are in the pregnancy.

Not Following Instructions

When you take a pregnancy test, you might not have paid enough attention to the directions because you were too excited or worried. It's important to read the instructions on the test kit carefully and do what they say. Even if you've taken a test before, make sure you read the instructions again. Different brands of tests have different symbols and testing times, and manufacturers sometimes change the way tests are made. Make sure you don't rush through the test.

How long does it take for a line to show up on a pregnancy test?

Most pregnancy test kits take a while to show results, and how long it takes depends on the brand and design. This time period is also one of the most common reasons why pregnancy tests come back negative. It takes a while for the urine sample to reach the result window, which is how long you have to wait to see a positive or negative indicator. Sometimes the urine doesn't reach the result window or the amount of urine in the kit isn't enough, which can also cause a blank test result. Even though digital pregnancy tests are slightly faster, most home pregnancy tests take about two minutes to show results.

When you check the results of a test kit that doesn't use symbols, it takes a little bit longer. But always keep in mind that a pregnancy test is only good for ten minutes. Anything that happens after that time frame can't be trusted.


A blank pregnancy test means the test kit has failed, or the person taking the test did not take the test properly. You can only get a positive or negative pregnancy test result. There is no way to get a blank result. If a pregnancy test comes back negative, you need to take the test again.

No, a blank pregnancy test does not mean that you are not pregnant. Your pregnancy test can either show that you are pregnant or that you are not. Simply put, a "null" result on a pregnancy test does not mean you are not pregnant.

If the pregnancy test comes back blank, you might want to try again with a different kit or manufacturer. When you do it again, make sure you carefully follow all of the steps. Remember that you can't use a pregnancy kit again just because the result was blank. When you take the test again, you should always use a new kit. Pregnancy test kits are made to only work once, and once you pee on them, they only work for the amount of time that is written on the box. That's because when urine touches the kit, chemical reactions happen that tell us the answer.

There have also been times when more than one pregnancy test came back empty. If your pregnancy tests keep returning negative, it just means that you got a bad batch or that the store you bought them from didn't handle them correctly.

William H. McDaniel, MD

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

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