Faint Line Pregnancy Test: Meaning, Causes & What To Do

| Reviewed By Amanda Lundberg, BSN, RN

If you believe that a pregnancy test will provide a definitive answer about your pregnancy status, you have not experienced the frustration of dealing with a faint line.

While you may be hoping for a bright line of confirmation, many people experience faint lines that leave them wondering if they are pregnant or not. 

If you get a faint line on a pregnancy test, you are pregnant. Regardless of how dark the line is, any faint colored line at all means that you are pregnant and there is enough of the pregnancy hormone in your system for the test to pick up and read.

There are many reasons you may get a faint line instead of a bright confirmation, and understanding them will help you when you are trying to confirm a pregnancy.

Faint Line on a Pregnancy Test

A faint line on a pregnancy test is still a line. Here’s what it means.

Is a Faint Line Still a Positive Pregnancy Test?

Yes, a faint line on a pregnancy test is still a positive result if you have taken the test correctly and read it within the given time. Any line means the test has picked up enough of the hCG hormone to determine pregnancy. 

How Faint Can a Positive Pregnancy Test Line Be?

A positive pregnancy test line can be extremely faint and still mean you’re pregnant. The line will usually be the color designated by the test instructions. 

If you have more of a shadow line, ensure that you read the test results within the given time required. You can see an evaporation line if you let the test sit too long, and this does not mean you are pregnant.

Extremely Faint Line on Pregnancy Test

An extremely faint line on a pregnancy test still means you’re likely pregnant if you followed the testing directions properly. You can take another test a few days later to see if the line comes back darker.

Can a Faint Line Be Negative?

A faint line is not usually negative. If you wait too long to read the pregnancy test, you may see an evaporation line.

This is not an indication of pregnancy and happens when the urine used for the test evaporates. However, this shouldn’t happen if you read the test results when instructed.

Causes of Faint Line on Pregnancy Test

A faint line on a pregnancy test often happens when you test a bit early. Your hCG levels, the ones that trigger a positive pregnancy test, are lower in the beginning of pregnancy.

If you test very early, the levels may be high enough to give you a positive test but too low for the line to be dark.

What Determines Darkness of Line on Pregnancy Test?

The concentration of hCG in your urine is what determines how dark the line on the pregnancy test is. That’s why it’s recommended that you take a pregnancy test first thing in the morning.

Your urine is not diluted, so the test should be able to pick up a concentrated amount of hCG if you are pregnant.

Faint Line vs. Evaporation Line

A faint pregnancy test line will still have a color to it. An evaporation line is more like a colorless shadow. You have to squint to see it, and it will not have a distinct color.

Since evaporation lines are just leftover streaks from urine evaporation, they will not be nearly as pronounced as actual positive lines.

White Indent Line on Pregnancy Test

On both the control and test areas, there are slight indents where the ink pools when the test is working properly.

A white indent line appearing in the test section of the test is not a positive result. A positive result will show color, even if it is faint.

Faint Line on Pregnancy Test Not Getting Darker

A faint line on a pregnancy test may not get darker as time passes. In fact, you shouldn’t read a pregnancy test after the allotted time because the result may not be accurate. 

If you take another test after a few days and the line still isn’t darker, you may want to see your doctor to ensure your hCG levels are rising the way they should during pregnancy.

Faint Line Pregnancy Test and Light Bleeding

If you get a faint line on a pregnancy test accompanied by light bleeding, don’t panic. This could be implantation bleeding and may be normal. Call your doctor, but don’t immediately assume something is wrong.

A young woman holding a pregnancy test with her reflection visible in the bathroom mirror.

Faint Positive Pregnancy Test Then Turned Negative

Even if a faint positive test disappears over time, you are still likely pregnant. The line disappearing likely means you read it outside of the instructed time and the urine had already evaporated.

Faint Positive Pregnancy Test, Then Negative, No Period

Most people test again after getting a faint first test, and if the next test comes back negative, then it can be confusing. If your period also doesn’t show up, you may not know what is happening.

There are different possible scenarios. A hormonal issue, ectopic pregnancy, or miscarriage could all be the reason. You may also be pregnant and just have taken the second test at a bad time when your urine was too diluted.

Does Faint Line on Pregnancy Test Disappear?

The faint line on your pregnancy test will stay until the end of the recommended time window. At that point, you already have your results and should not check again outside of the time guidelines.

Faint Line on Pregnancy Test After Time

If you try to read a pregnancy test after the recommended time window, you may get inaccurate results. It’s best not to because you can’t rely on the answer.

There is a chance you are looking at an evaporation line instead of a positive faint line if you read the results too late.

How Long After a Faint Positive Should I Test Again?

You don’t have to test again after a faint positive test, but you can. You can wait 2-3 days or test again the next day first thing in the morning.

How Many Pregnancy Tests Should I Take?

There’s no set number of pregnancy tests you have to take to know if you’re pregnant. If you get a positive result on the first test, then you are likely pregnant.

Many people will take another one a few days later to confirm, but this is not required.

Should Pregnancy Test Lines Get Darker?

Your pregnancy test line doesn’t need to get darker on the same test. If there is a faint line that doesn’t get darker after a few minutes, you are likely pregnant.

You may notice your pregnancy test line getting darker as you continue to take tests over time.

Every 2-3 days your hormone levels increase, so this means your line should get darker if you take different tests over a period of multiple days or weeks.

When To See Doctor for Pregnancy

You can call your doctor as soon as you get a positive pregnancy test or if you suspect you are pregnant. However, most doctors won’t set your first appointment until you are about eight weeks along. 

Related Questions: 

What Does It Mean When One Pregnancy Test Is Positive and the Other Negative?

Depending on the order you took them in, it could just mean you tested too early. Getting a negative result and then taking another test a couple of days later and getting a positive result is not uncommon.

However, if you get a positive test and then a negative one later, you should contact your doctor. It could just be that you took the tests at different times when your hCG levels were at different concentrations, but it’s good to find out for sure.

How Dark Should a Pregnancy Test Line Be at 4 Weeks?

At 4 weeks, your pregnancy test might be very dark or extremely faint depending on your hormone levels and if you are pregnant with a singleton or multiples.

If you don’t get the result you expected at the 4-week mark, test again in a few days.

Closing Thoughts

Taking a pregnancy test can be anxiety-inducing, but a faint line usually means you are pregnant.

If you need further confirmation, test again in a couple of days or schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.