Line on Pregnancy Test After 10 Minutes – What It Means

| Reviewed By Amanda Lundberg, BSN, RN

You’re finally ready to take a pregnancy test and hoping for an accurate result. It’s important to follow all the directions that come with the pregnancy test to ensure the result you get can be trusted.

What if my pregnancy test is positive after 10 minutes? If your pregnancy test is positive after 10 minutes, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re pregnant. Urine pregnancy tests are usually meant to be read within three to five minutes of use, and reading them after that time period can result in an inaccurate result.

It’s devastating to get a false positive, so you need to understand how pregnancy tests work and why the results have to be read in a timely manner.

Line on Pregnancy Test After 10 Minutes

Read the directions before you begin taking a pregnancy test to avoid confusion. It’s a good idea to have a timer handy to ensure you know when your results are valid.

How Many Minutes Does It Take a Pregnancy Test To Show Positive?

How long it takes for your pregnancy test to show positive depends on how far along your pregnancy is and how high your hCG level has climbed.

Most pregnancy tests will come back positive by the 3-minute mark. However, one of my pregnancy tests came back bright and positive within the first minute. 

Why You Shouldn’t Read a Pregnancy Test After 10 Minutes

After 10 minutes, a pregnancy test can develop an evaporation line that looks a lot like a positive result.

Reading your pregnancy test too late could make you believe you are pregnant when you are not, and it can be extremely difficult when you find out you’re actually not pregnant.

Evaporation Line on Pregnancy Test

An evaporation line appears in the test window as your urine dries. Though this line is faint and usually colorless, it is possible to mistake it for a positive pregnancy result.

That’s why it’s best not to read a pregnancy test after 10 minutes. The evaporation line will already be trying to appear, and that can confuse the results.

Evaporation Line vs. Faint Positive

An evaporation line won’t always appear, but if it does, it will be after you should have already read the test results. Evaporation lines are not the same as faint positive results for a variety of reasons.

Do Evap Lines Have Color?

Evaporation lines are colorless. This is one easy way to tell them apart from faint positive test lines.

Do Evap Lines Get Darker?

An evaporation line is colorless and won’t change much once it appears. However, you may see the evaporation grow slightly darker as the test sits.

Do Evaporation Lines Disappear?

Once the evaporation line appears in the testing window, it’s there to stay. 

Can a Pregnancy Test Change From Negative to Positive?

It may take a couple of minutes for your pregnancy test to change from negative to positive, but it can happen.

However, if you read it after the time frame recommended, you likely aren’t looking at a positive test. You are looking at an evaporation line.

It’s also possible to take a pregnancy test and get a negative result one day and then get a positive result the next day. The increase in your hCG hormone gets credit for this.

A young woman lying on top of her bed staring at a pregnancy test.

How To Take a Pregnancy Test Correctly

Every urine pregnancy test is different, so it’s important to read the directions that come with your test. However, there are some steps you can follow to help you no matter what test you choose.

  1. Try to take your pregnancy test using your first urine of the day.
  2. Read all directions before you start the test.
  3. Have a timer available so you know when to read your results.
  4. Pee directly onto the testing stick with the stick pointing down. Make sure to urinate for as many seconds as the test requires.
  5. You can also pee into a cup, and then dip the testing stick in the urine for as many seconds as the directions say you should.
  6. Read your pregnancy test within the time window required.
  7. Do not read your pregnancy test after the time window has passed, and disregard results if you do.
  8. Try not to take a pregnancy test before the first day of your missed period for the most accurate results.

Can a Negative Pregnancy Test Be Wrong?

A negative pregnancy test can be wrong, though this is rare and happens only around 5 percent of the time.

One reason you may be getting a negative test when you are actually pregnant is that you are testing too early.

If your hCG level isn’t high enough, the pregnancy test will come back negative, and levels rise as the pregnancy progresses.

You can also dilute your urine by chugging too much water before taking a pregnancy test. While it’s always a good idea to drink water, it may cause your urine to be so diluted that your hCG levels won’t register a positive result.

Positive Pregnancy Test Line Disappeared After a Few Seconds

It’s confusing to know you saw a positive pregnancy test line only to have it vanish a few seconds later. However, this can happen. If your test is old or expired, you may get a line that then disappears.

You can also get a positive test and be pregnant and still notice the line disappearing. When this happens, you are likely testing in the very early stages of pregnancy.

Your hCG level is high enough to clue you in that you’re pregnant, but it is not high enough to keep that line around for long.

If your line appears and then vanishes, test again in a couple of days with a new test that is not expired. Read the test within the time limits recommended, and you should be able to find out once and for all if you are pregnant.

Related Questions: 

What Time of Day Should You Take a Pregnancy Test?

While you can take a pregnancy test any time of day, first thing in the morning is usually best.

Your urine is more concentrated the first time you urinate in the morning, so it will be easier for a pregnancy test to pick up hCG levels and confirm the pregnancy. Diluted urine used later in the day can give you a false negative.

Do Pregnancy Tests Expire?

Yes, pregnancy tests do expire. You should be able to find the expiration date on the package the test is wrapped in or on the outside of the box used to package it. Using an expired pregnancy test can give you an inaccurate result.

In Summary

For the most valid result, follow the directions that come with your pregnancy test. This will help ensure the answer you get is accurate.