Missed Period with Negative Pregnancy Test Result

Reviewed by
Shawn A. Tassone

Missed Period With Negative Pregnancy Test Result

It happens more times than you might think, so if this is happening to you try not to panic just yet. For women who are trying to conceive the negative result could be heartbreaking, but for women trying to avoid pregnancy the result could be pleasing. The reactions are different, yet the questions remain the same: “Why haven’t I started my period?” and “Why is this pregnancy test negative?”

It’s important to remember that just because your period is late and you’ve taken a pregnancy test that is negative, it doesn’t mean that the two are related. There are numerous possible answers to both of the questions, so let’s break each one down carefully.

Why Haven’t I Started My Period?

When a woman says her “period is late” she actually means her ovulation cycle is late, not the menstrual cycle. So, if you’ve made changes in your daily routine either physically or emotionally, it can throw off your cycle and cause you to miss a period.  Remember, a simple delay by 1 or 2 days in ovulation can lengthen your cycle. Other reasons could be:

  • Stopping or starting the usage of birth control
  • Too much stress
  • Diet changes
  • Increased activity
  • Heavy activity
  • Irregular monthly cycles
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of sleep
  • Hormone levels
  • Traveling
  • Illness
  • Medication
  • Perimenopause or menopause
  • Overweight or underweight issues
  • Thyroid problems

Why is This Pregnancy Test Negative?

First, it’s important to know that different pregnancy tests yield different results at different points in your cycle. So, it truly depends on the accuracy of the test you’re taking to determine why you’re late and why the test is showing a negative result. Some tests can determine whether or not you’re pregnant the day after conception, some require at least a week, and others take up to 10 days after ovulation to determine a true result. Other reasons for a negative pregnancy test could be:

  • Tested too early – Pregnancy tests vary in their sensitivity, meaning how soon they can detect the hormone Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) in your urine. It’s extremely possible that your egg might be fertilized, meaning you may be pregnant, but your body has not started secreting enough Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) for the test to measure. Your body needs time for the hormone to rise to a high enough level to be detected in a test. Also, try not to drink fluids before testing, as this can lower or dilute the hCG levels.  Early morning urine is usually the best.
  • Didn’t follow instructions correctly – Closely following the instructions that come with the test you purchase is key. If you don’t follow the instructions on the home pregnancy test correctly, it could yield false or negative results. You must dip it correctly and/or aim correctly onto the stick to gain real results.
  • Missed reaction time – The instructions will tell you to check the results after a certain amount of minutes. If you miss this time, either by checking too early or too late, you could get false results. Letting the test sit for too long makes the test invalid.

What Can You Do Next?

The best thing to do if you are truly worried about the situation is to contact your doctor. Not only do they have more sensitive pregnancy tests, but they can also run blood tests and get to the bottom of whether or not you are pregnant. Another logical thing to do is to go back to your local drug store and purchase a more sensitive test. Some of the tests sold over the counter are unreliable and have a low sensitivity rate. You could also wait another day or two and test again. Sometimes it takes a little longer for some women to build up the hCG hormone, even if they are pregnant.

[Page updated November 2013]