Even before you get pregnant, you have probably heard about pregnancy symptoms. You know that symptoms such as morning sickness, nausea, fatigue, and mood swings can signify your possible pregnancy, especially if it has been a while since you have been trying to get conceived. How it is a positive pregnancy test then negative the next day?
In this situation, most women refer to home pregnancy tests to ensure. However, you may have all the definite symptoms of pregnancy, the most significant being a missed period. Still, your home pregnancy test comes out negative. Or maybe your previous test was positive, but now a few days later, when you want to double check your pregnancy, the test result is negative. How can it be explained?
What happens here is a hook effect pregnancy. Hook effect is a term that is used when a false negative answer appears in home pregnancy tests. Should you trust your body or the result given by the pregnancy test? Under what conditions are the results of a pregnancy test negative? And when do you need to take other actions?
How Pregnancy Test Works
Before we explain the hook effect, we need to talk a little about the pregnancy test. The mechanism of pregnancy tests is that every time you drop some urine on its surface, you wait for the lines on the test to tell you if you are pregnant or not. When pregnancy occurs, a fertilized egg attaches to the uterus wall at the time of implantation and slowly grows. At the same time, the body of pregnant women secretes a hormone called hCG, which stands for human chorionic gonadotrophin.
Pregnancy tests are designed to detect the presence of this hormone in urine or blood. This may happen as soon as eight days after ovulation. But this same hormone sometimes messes up with your pregnancy test.
Finally, pregnancy can definitely be confirmed by methods like ultrasound. If the level of the mentioned hormone in your blood is high, the test result will be falsely negative. Instead of two lines becoming darker, one line will remain pale or colorless. You may even come across scenarios when 1 positive pregnancy test, 3 negative happen, or 3 months pregnant negative pregnancy test occurs. Women pregnant with twins also report hook effect at 4 weeks twins.
All About the Hook Effect Pregnancy Test
What we said about the hook effect not only applies to the home pregnancy tests, but high hCG may also cause your blood or saliva test to come out negative. The hook effect is also known as the "high-dose hook effect" or "prozone effect." The high amount of hCG in your urine causes the test to not detect the appropriate number of specific molecules, which results in a positive test result.
You may ask when does the hook effect start in pregnancy? The hook effect usually occurs in early pregnancy but is generally rare. In pregnant women with multiples, the hook effect is more likely because each of the embryos attached to the wall of your uterus sends a signal to your body to announce its presence.
Also, if a miscarriage has occurred, one of the symptoms that should be suspected is irregular negative and positive pregnancy test results.
In women with a molar pregnancy, the possibility of the hook effect is higher than in others. One in every thousand women may have a molar pregnancy. This complication occurs due to excessive growth of placenta cells. As such, you should be careful and pay regular visits to your practitioner to have your situation under control. In a molar pregnancy, no fetus may be formed at all, and fluid-filled cysts are commonly seen.
Of course, molar pregnancy has other symptoms, such as pain in the pelvis area, severe nausea, and red or dark brown bleeding from the vagina.
Finally, suppose you are using fertility drugs or other drugs that contain hCG. In that case, your pregnancy test may result in a false negative.
Why Should You Take the Hook Effect Seriously?
Even if you are sure you are pregnant, it is still a good idea to find out why your pregnancy test gives a false negative. Let's say that you are really pregnant. Still, you trust the false negative answer of this test and do activities that are harmful to the fetus, such as smoking or drinking alcohol.
In addition, it is possible that a miscarriage has occurred, and the hook effect indicates this. It is true that the body naturally expels the remaining tissue from your uterus. But it is always possible that some remnants in the uterus cause infection. In this case, you must undergo a Dilation and curettage (D&C) procedure.
How to Prevent the Hook Effect
The most common way to ensure that your pregnancy test is not falsely negative due to the hook effect HCG is to dilute your urine with water before taking the test. Water dilutes the hCG hormone, and your test reads correctly. Of course, this is not a sure way to get the correct answer.
Contrary to popular belief, some people recommend that you should not take a pregnancy test first thing in the morning. Because the accumulation of hCG hormone in your concentrated urine may be higher than usual. You can take the test during the day instead. Of course, this is not a sure way to ensure the correctness of the test answer, either.
It might be a good idea to try different pregnancy tests and choose tests that are more sensitive to hCG. Finally, discuss all these issues with your doctor so that he can be sure whether or not you are pregnant with more definitive methods such as ultrasound. Don't feel ashamed and desperate; don't let anyone tell you things like "it is all in your head."
You know by heart that you are pregnant, but your pregnancy test is negative. It may also happen after a positive test when you retake a pregnancy test a few days later. Are you pregnant or not? Your test being negative while pregnant may be due to the hook effect.
In certain situations, such as being pregnant with twins or multiples, molar pregnancy, or even miscarriage, the amount of hCG hormone in the body increases. This is the same hormone detected by pregnancy tests when you are pregnant. If the hook effect is in charge, your urine pregnancy test or blood test will not turn positive.
Therefore, knowing the hook effect and why it happens is necessary. Because, as we said, in cases like miscarriage or even actual pregnancy, it may threaten you or the fetus. This article tried to suggest ways to eliminate the hook effect. Still, your doctor can end all your worries about pregnancy with an ultrasound.