what a positive pregnancy test can and cant tell you

Although pregnancy tests are great tools for telling you whether you’re pregnant, you should keep in mind that they really can’t tell you much more than a “yes” or “no” answer. Here are two noteworthy points about pregnancy tests that can be especially relevant for women who have experienced a miscarriage in the past or who are worried about pregnancy loss:

Having a dark test line one day and a very light test line the next day is not a sign of miscarriage, but more likely an indicator of how much water you have had to drink that day. You may be tempted to take multiple pregnancy tests over the next few days to make sure that the result is real. If you do, remember not to think too hard about the shading of the test line. The only time a home pregnancy test result can suggest miscarriage is if you have a pregnancy test show a negative result after having taken a previous pregnancy test that was positive. This can be a sign of a chemical pregnancy—a very early miscarriage.

If you are having miscarriage symptoms and want an answer on whether your pregnancy is viable, don’t rely on a home pregnancy test. See a doctor instead. Even in women with a confirmed miscarriage, a pregnancy test may show a positive result for up to a month afterward. Depending on where you are in your pregnancy, the doctor can check your cervix, monitor your hCG levels and/or perform an ultrasound to determine whether you are miscarrying.