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Negative Home Pregnancy Test (HPT): Could I Still Be Pregnant?

Q: Can I still be pregnant after a missed period even though my home pregnancy test (HPT) was negative? What does it mean if I am between 12-17 days post ovulation with no period and a negative pregnancy test?

A: A repeatedly negative pregnancy test and a missed period mean that you are not pregnant; a negative pregnancy test a week or more after your missed period indicates that your chance of being pregnant is less than 1-2%. A positive pregnancy test usually means that you are pregnant.

LEARN more about your pregnancy test knowledge by taking the Pregnancy Test Quiz

The timing of a positive pregnancy test depends on implantation. If you are pregnant, a urine pregnancy test is not expected to be positive until 3-4 days after implantation (at the very earliest), which is about 10 days after ovulation/fertilization and 4 days before the next period. About 51% of pregnant women have a positive pregnancy test 2 days before their next expected period.

Looking at pregnancy testWhat are your chances of pregnancy when you are trying to conceive and have a negative pregnancy test? What are your chances of a positive home pregnancy test if you are pregnant? Below is a table showing your chances of still being pregnant with a negative pregnancy test even when you miss your period on different days of your menstrual cycle:

Pregnancy Chances after a Negative Pregnancy Test in Relationship to Ovulation and the Days before or after the Expected Period
Days Post
Ovulation
(DPO)
Day of
Expected
Period (EP)
Chance of Still Being Pregnant with a Negative Pregnancy Test    Chance of NOT Being Pregnant with a Negative Pregnancy Test %  of Pregnant Women with a positive Pregnancy Test
12 DPO EP -3 12.3% 87.8% 51%
13 DPO EP -2 9.5% 90.5% 62%
14 DPO EP -1 8.0% 92.0% 68%
15 DPO Expected period 6.5% 93.5% 74%
16 DPO EP +1 5.3% 94.8% 79%
17 DPO EP +2 3.8% 96.3% 85%
18 DPO EP +3 2.5% 97.5% 90%
23 DPO EP +7 1% 99.0% 96%

Data is based on the fact that in each menstrual cycle there is an about 25% chance of getting pregnant as well as a scientific study published by Wilcox in JAMA in 2001.

Your chance of getting pregnant each month may be different depending on your age, certain medical issues, whether you ovulate or not, and if your are trying to get pregnant with IVF or other fertility medications.

Besides being pregnant, the next reason for missing your period is not ovulating (anovulation). That's why it is essential for every woman who is trying to conceive to chart her fertility and to know each cycle if ovulation happened or not. Knowing if and when you ovulated usually removes any confusion you may have if your period didn't come. Start charting ovulation and calculating your fertility now. You might also use a Fertility Monitor for this purpose, there is even one electronic monitor that can confirm if and when ovulation took place. Doing this will help you find out if you ovulated, whether you are fertile, and it will let you know early on if you are pregnant. If you know you ovulated and your period hasn't come 15+ DPO, then there could be only one reason: you are pregnant.

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