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    Negative and false-negative pregnancy tests: Everything you need to know

    Updated 10 March 2023 |
    Published 08 January 2020
    Fact Checked
    Dr. Renita White
    Medically reviewed by Dr. Renita White, Obstetrician and gynecologist, Georgia Obstetrics and Gynecology, Georgia, US
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    There’s no denying that getting a negative pregnancy test can be confusing, especially if your period is late. Here’s how to tell the difference between a negative pregnancy test and a false-negative result and what to do next.

    Taking a pregnancy test can be undeniably anxiety inducing, whether you’re trying for a baby or not. And while receiving a negative pregnancy test result when you are trying for a baby can be difficult, it’s helpful to keep in mind that not everyone will get pregnant as soon as they start trying to conceive. In fact, recent research suggests the following average timelines for couples under 35, which might be reassuring to know:

    • 45% of couples will conceive following three cycles of unprotected sex.
    • 65% of couples will conceive following six cycles of unprotected sex.
    • 85% of couples will conceive within their first year of having regular unprotected sex.

    Flo can help you understand when you’re most likely to get pregnant

    So if you’re disappointed by a negative pregnancy test, don’t lose hope — try to focus on the potential for conceiving during your next cycle, instead.

    You may, however, get a negative result and still think you might be pregnant. Perhaps your period hasn’t arrived, or you think you might be experiencing early pregnancy symptoms. In this scenario, it can be tricky to know what to do and what information to trust (especially if you’ve turned to Dr. Google for advice — we’ve all been there!). 

    To help explain the science behind both negative and false-negative pregnancy tests, and the best time to do another test if you’re doubting your previous result, we spoke to Dr. Nazaneen Homaifar, obstetrician and gynecologist, Inova Health System, Washington, DC, US. Read on for everything you need to know.