Two Lines on a Pregnancy Test: What Does It Mean?

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Everyone takes a pregnancy test for the very first time. When you take a home pregnancy test for the first time, you will have a lot of questions. How do you know if it is negative? What do two lines on a pregnancy test mean? Why are there two lines? There are so many questions!

When you head to the store to purchase a home pregnancy test, you have two different options. The first option is a digital test that displays PREGNANT or NOT PREGNANT depending on your results. However, digital pregnancy tests carry a much higher price tag. Two digital tests could cost as much as $15 to $20, but many ladies prefer these because there is no question about the results. They are very easy to read.

The second option is a traditional pregnancy test. Traditional home pregnancy tests display the results with either one or two lines. One of the reasons women prefer these types of tests is the decreased cost. While good pregnancy tests still cost money, you can get traditional tests in larger packs, making the price per test much cheaper.

What are The Two Lines on the Pregnancy Test?

You have to understand what the lines are and the purpose of the lines before you take a traditional pregnancy test. The first line that typically shows up in the window reading is the control line. There should always be two lines. If the test is blank, you have a defective test, or you used the test improperly. Most control lines will show up as soon as the urine passes across the screen through capillary action.  

The second line that appears is the line that will let you know whether or not you are pregnant. If you wait the time indicated in the instructions and there is only one line, you know that you are not pregnant. If a second line shows up in the allotted time frame, you know that you are pregnant.

The Control Line

You can think of the control line like a verification line. It lets you know that the home pregnancy test is working. If you don’t see a control line, you might have a defective pregnancy test. If you get a test line and not a control line, it is also an invalid pregnancy test. Here are some other commonly asked questions about the control line.

  • The control line will either appear in a separate control window, such as it does in Clear Blue tests, or in the same result window as the test line. If it stays in the same result window, the test line typically is to the right of the test line.
  • The control line appears because it reacts with the chemicals in your urine. If you used water, the control line wouldn’t show up because those components are missing.

What is the Test Line?

As you might assume, the test line on a pregnancy strip lets you know that you are or are not pregnant. The test line will not appear if you are NOT pregnant. A second line shows up because the test detects HCG in your system. HCG is the pregnancy hormone that starts to form once the fertilized egg implants in your uterine walls. It is what helps to sustain the pregnancy.

Is a Faint Line Still a Positive?

One of the most commonly asked questions is if a faint line as the test line is still a positive result. The most important thing for you to remember is that, if there is any second line at all, you are pregnant. A test line only shows up if HCG is detected, indicating a positive result.

That line could be very light, almost unnoticeable at first glance. You might want to throw it away. It is important for you to wait for the full-time span. Most tests are not readable after 10 minutes, but a very light pregnancy line could take eight minutes to show up. So long as the results show up before the time indicated, you can trust that a positive result is real, even if it is very light. Don’t throw that test away just yet!

Sometimes, you might squint so hard that you feel as if your eyes are going cross! If that’s the circumstance, ask someone else to your best friend or spouse to take a look at the test. If they see it, then the faint line is real! You don’t have to worry about their desire to be pregnant clouding their judgment. If you want a positive result, sometimes you can imagine the line being there. In the trying to conceive circles, it is called line eye.

Why Can’t You Read the Test After a Certain Time?

I mentioned ensuring that you read the test in the allotted time. There is a specific reason why you need to do so. If you wait too long after taking a home pregnancy test, you might see a faint line that doesn’t indicate pregnancy at all. The line is called an evaporation line.

Evaporation lines are very frustrating for women! They form when the urine starts to evaporate, and the test starts to dry out. Evaporation can create a shadow line that looks just like a positive pregnancy test. The only major difference is that an evaporation line won’t have any color to the line. It is gray or very light, instead of being pink or blue.

How Do You Know How Long to Wait?

The first thing you should do is read the instructions included in the box with your pregnancy tests. Each pregnancy test is different than the other. Here are some things you find out by reading the instructions included.

  • The best method for collecting the urine sample. While some tests allow you to dip the stick directly into a urine stream, others want you just to collect the urine in a cup. Collecting the urine in a cup can seem like a pain in the butt, but it makes the process much easier. You can be sure that you hold it in the urine for the right amount of time without oversaturating the strip.
  • How long you have to wait before you read the results. Unless you are over six weeks pregnant, the test line won’t show up quickly. If you haven’t missed your period yet, there is a good chance the test line will be very light. Most tests tell you that you need to wait three to five minutes before even attempting to read the results!
  • How long you can read the results. You can’t read the results forever. Each test has an allotted time when you can read the test. It will differ among each test brand, but the average amount of time is ten minutes.

Blue Test Lines vs. Pink Test Lines

You might be conflicted because you don’t know if you should pick a pink dye or blue dye test. Technically, there is no difference between the two. The color of the test means nothing different. However, some women believe that blue dye tests are more likely to show evaporation lines faster than the pink dye tests.  

Issues that Might Arise with the Two Lines

There are a few different issues that might appear when you take a pregnancy test. You may question the validity of the test if these issues arise, so take a look to see the answers!

  • An extra-thick pregnancy line could just mean that you held the test in the sample of urine for too long. Sometimes, companies also make the tests so that the positive lines show up larger and easier to read. If this happens to you, it doesn’t mean that the test is invalid, so don’t worry! You are still pregnant.
  • If you get a thin line on a pregnancy test, it could mean that your HCG levels are still rather low. Over time as the HCG increases, the line will get darker and thicker in color. Remember, no matter how faint or thin the test line may be, it still indicates a pregnancy!
  • Closed spaced pregnancy lines could be a defect in the pregnancy test. It doesn’t indicate that you are not pregnant. However, if you feel that something could be wrong like you used an expired pregnancy test, make sure that you retake a test in the morning to confirm the positive result.

What Do Two Lines on a Pregnancy Test Mean?

The answer is very simple. Except in rare circumstances, two lines on a pregnancy test means that you are pregnant. No matter how faint that second line may appear, two lines on a pregnancy test indicate pregnancy, even if it shows up as a cross!

If you think the test could be invalid, the best answer is to retake the test again in the morning. First-morning urine has the highest concentration of HCG, and you are most likely to get the best results then. Seeing two lines can be the most exciting moment of your life!

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