Can I still be pregnant even though my home pregnancy test was negative?

A repeatedly negative pregnancy test and a missed period typically 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.

However, sometimes you can still be pregnant even though you had a negative pregnancy test:

  • Maybe you miscalculated when your period was due
  • Maybe you tested too soon and there is not enough hCG (the hormone that indicates pregnancy) found when you tested
  • You may need to wait about a week, and then retest

hCG doubles about every 48 hours in early pregnancy. A home pregnancy test that is negative on Monday could very likely be positive on Wednesday. And if it's positive with first-morning urine, later on in the day, when the urine is more diluted, it could test negative. It is also important to remember that despite the advances in urine home pregnancy tests, blood tests are still the best at detecting early pregnancy.

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 two days before their next expected period.

Stats On Being Pregnant Despite A Negative Pregnancy Test 

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 (and a scientific study published by Wilcox in JAMA).

Your chance of getting pregnant each month may be different depending on your age, certain medical issues, whether you ovulate or not, and if you 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 find out if ovulation is occurring in each cycle. Knowing if and when you ovulated usually removes any confusion you may have if your period is late.

If you know you ovulated and your period hasn't come 15+ days post ovulation, then there could be only one likely reason: you are pregnant!

Read More:
Why Am I Not Ovulating?
When Am I Most Fertile?
Pregnancy Symptoms: Early Signs You May Be Pregnant