Driving yourself nuts, peering at a pregnancy test, trying to work out if you can really see a second line or not?! Yep, I’ve been there. Obsessing over the existence of a barely-there line can make you feel like you’ve lost the plot. If you’re testing super early (read more about testing early, 10 days after ovulation here), then it can be really hard to see the test line, no matter what test you’re using. This is because your levels of hCG (the pregnancy hormone that the tests pick up on) probably aren’t yet high enough to give a truly obvious BFP (‘big fat positive’ in fertility forum speech!).
So if you’re wondering whether you’re imagining things, or whether there really is some of that pink ink showing up along the test line, here’s a little hack to help your poor, tired eyes see what’s really there. Or you could of course wait a few days to test again. Nah! Who has the patience for that! ? Certainly not me…
So here’s what you do.
Step 1: Take your pregnancy strip (if you’re testing really early in your cycle, I recommend using some cheap cardboard test strips instead of the pricey plastic ones. I used the One Step Pregnancy Test Strips which you can use really early and are only £3.29 for 20, so no worries using loads of them! ) Follow the instructions they come with to dip it in your urine and wait the specified time to read the result.
Step 2: Look at the area where the TEST LINE should be, this is the important bit. The control line will always show up, unless the test is faulty. If you feel that you can see a really faint test line, go to step 3.
Step 3: Take a photo of your test strip, and then download an app to your phone which which turn photos into negatives. I used one called Negative Image. Convert your picture to negative.
Step 4: Have a look at the negative image of your test strip. Can you make out a faint turquoise line where the test line should be? Try bringing the brightness up or down on your phone or computer screen, and play around with the light or darkness in your room to see if this makes a difference. If there is any ink on that test line at all, it will be showing up as a faint turquoise haze, and that means it’s highly likely that you’re pregnant!
And there you have it! As you can see on my early test strip above, there is a faint turquoise test line visible once I converted the image. I carried on testing on subsequent days and that line gradually got darker, before I finally used a First Response test on day 28, which confirmed that it was positive. I really do recommend the One Step Pregnancy Test Strips though, they are VERY economical and use WAY less plastic, which means less rubbish in landfill or the oceans!
See photos of the test strips I used on subsequent days, which show how the line got gradually darker, here, in my blog Am I pregnant? How early can I take a pregnancy test?
Thanks for reading, and good luck!
Freya is one half of The Amateur Parents. Follow her and her partner Rob on Instagram: @the_amateur_mama @the_amateurdad