Negative Pregnancy Test

If, at 4 days late, you obtain a negative pregnancy test, you may have to consider whether your cycle was aberrant this month owing to stress, medication, etc. The typical woman’s luteal (post-ovulatory) phase is almost invariantly 12 – 16 days, and if the phase extends to 18 days or greater, the woman is almost certainly pregnant. However, it is possible that you ovulated late or not at all this cycle, which could contribute to a late period and a negative pregnancy test at 4 days late.

If you normally have extremely regular cycles and are not charting to confirm ovulation (as observed by a sustained, upward shift in basal body temperature), then you should consider if there are any factors that could have caused a delayed ovulation this cycle. You also should try testing with a different brand of pregnancy test to ensure that you did not get a false negative result. Although false positives are almost unheard of in pregnancy tests, false negatives may occur if any of the following apply:

  1. You tested too early in your cycle.
  2. You used urine that was extremely dilute for the test.
  3. You used an expired test.

Make sure to eliminate all of these factors. If you are still experiencing a missed period after more than 4 days late and you continue to obtain negative pregnancy tests, you should contact your physician. He or she can perform a blood test to confirm or rule out pregnancy and the physician might also perform ultrasound to detect any signs of a fetus. He or she might also look particularly for an ectopic pregnancy, although these are typically accompanied by abdominal pain. Ultrasound may also be able to estimate where you are in your menstrual cycle with regard to ovulation.

The clinician can test your blood level of progesterone to determine if you are post-ovulatory. If you still do not have your period after more than 4 days late and are continuing to obtain negative pregnancy tests, your physician might prescribe oral progesterone to encourage menstruation and help you to resume cycling. A missed period can be caused by something as mundane as stress during that cycle, or it can be indicative of something more serious. If you are 4 days late and obtaining a negative pregnancy test, it is a good idea to contact your health care provider for help.

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