What Does Invalid Mean On A Pregnancy Test?

Confidence, anticipation, a little bit of nervousness – these emotions hang in the balance as you await the result of a pregnancy test.

But what happens when your anticipation is met with the unnerving ‘Invalid’ in the results field?

You may feel confused, frustrated, even fearful, wondering what ‘Invalid’ truly means in a context that was supposed to be as clear as ‘Positive’ or ‘Negative.’ Are the test results inconclusive, or does it reflect an error in operation?

In this article, we’ll discuss what it means when your test shows “invalid”. We’ll as well delve into some causes of invalid pregnancy test and a guide into what to do next when faced with it.

Note: An invalid pregnancy test result means it is impossible to determine if you are pregnant or not, usually due to issues with the test itself.

There are some possible causes for an invalid test result, which we’re going to discuss into detail in this article.

What is a pregnancy test?

 A pregnancy test is a tool that determines whether you’re pregnant or not. When you make a pregnancy test, the kit or method you use starts detecting the presence of a pregnancy hormone in your urine or blood.

When it’s able to detect these hormones, then Yes! You’re pregnant. Conversely, when it doesn’t detect any, then you certainly aren’t pregnant.

But what does it really mean when it shows invalid? That’s what this article is basically going to talk about, let’s get reading.

What does invalid mean on a pregnancy test?

So your results showed “invalid”, and that has kept you wondering what it really means.

When your pregnancy test result shows “invalid”, it simply means the test is uncertain, in other words, the test kit wasn’t able to decide or determine whether you are pregnant or not.

What causes invalid pregnancy test?

There are a number of reasons for an invalid result. Some reasons may include

1. Failure to Follow Instructions: Not using the test kit properly or not following the instructions correctly can cause an invalid result. This includes not saturating the absorbent tip with enough urine.

2. Handling or Storage Problems: If the pregnancy test stick is stored improperly, like being exposed to excessive heat, or if it’s taken out of the package too long before it is used, it can produce an invalid result.

3. Faulty or Expired Test: Using a damaged or expired test can also lead to an invalid result. Sometimes, a defect in the manufacturing of the test can lead to an invalid result.

4. Testing Too Early: Testing before the missed period when the hCG hormone has not risen enough to be detected can cause a test to be invalid.

5. Inappropriate Handling: If the test stick is taken out of the package too long before it is used, it can produce an invalid result.

6. Interference from Medications: Certain medications can interfere with the test’s ability to measure hCG levels, causing an invalid result.

7. Chemical or Ectopic Pregnancy: A chemical or ectopic pregnancy can cause hCG levels to fluctuate, leading to contradictory or invalid test results.

In the event of receiving an invalid test result, the best course of action should be to take another test, making sure to follow all the instructions and guidelines accurately

Always refer to a healthcare provider for proper understanding, and retake the test if the result is invalid.

Can I use an invalid pregnancy test again?

While you may be considering of re-using a test kit that initially showed invalid, it is generally not advisable.

Pregnancy tests are designed to be single-use items. Once opened, the strip loses its sensitivity and hence reusing it will not yield valid results. Besides, reusing a pregnancy test could potentially lead to infections.

If you have an invalid result on your pregnancy test, it is recommended to discard the test immediately. You should use a newer test kit in order to get a more accurate result.

And for best results, most experts suggest reading the outcomes of a pregnancy test within 5 minutes of taking it.

What are the types of pregnancy tests?

There are two major types of pregnancy tests and they include;

  • Urine Test (also, Home pregnancy test)
  • Blood test

Lets quickly delve into some pros and cons of these types of pregnancy tests

Urine test   (Home pregnancy Test)

This type of pregnancy test comprises using a diagnostic test kit or tool to determine whether you’re pregnant by detecting the presence of hCG (pregnancy hormone) in your bloodstream through your urine.


  • Convenient and can be taken at home, confidentially
  • Results are obtained within minutes
  • Available over the counter; Very easy getting
  • Less expensive
  • Very easy to use
  • Can be self administered
  • Best to take when you miss your period for most accurate results.


  • Can give false positive results
  • Could be difficult to read sometimes when it gives faint line results
  • Instructions may range from different manufacturers which can lead to usage errors if not followed carefully

Blood test

Blood tests for pregnancy are another method that is used to determine if you’re pregnant by analysing your blood sample.

These tests also check for the presence of hCG straight up in your blood with results showing as either Qualitative or Quantitative.

Qualitative result just confirm the presence of the pregnancy hormones whereas Quantitative result determines the exact number of the pregnancy hormones in your bloodstream.


  • Very sensitive, even more than the urine test
  • Can provide a simple Yes or No
  • Can measure exact amount of pregnancy hormones in blood
  • Detects pregnancy earlier than a urine test


  • Expensive
  • Can only be performed in a medical setting by a healthcare provider
  • Takes a bit longer time for results to show, increasing anxiety
  • Can also give false negative results

How to Use a Home Pregnancy Test

Follow these steps to use a Home Pregnancy Test for accurate results:

  • Read the instructions carefully.
  • Wait until the first day of your missed period.
  • Use your first-morning urine, as it has the highest concentration of hCG.
  • Hold the test stick in the urine stream or dip it into a container of collected urine.
  • Wait for the required time stated in the instructions (usually 3 to 5 minutes).
  • Check the results.

How does a pregnancy test work? Interpreting the Results

  • Positive Result: Indicates pregnancy (the presence of hCG has been detected).
  • Negative Result: Indicates no pregnancy (the absence of hCG),
  • Invalid Result: Occurs when the test is not performed correctly, or the test is faulty. In this case, take another test.

It’s important to consult with a healthcare provider for a more accurate assessment and proper guidance during pregnancy.

How do you know if a pregnancy test is valid?

 A valid pregnancy test would simply show a positive or negative result. This means the test has either been able to detect pregnancy hormones in your blood, or it did not detect any.

For the best tips to ensure your pregnancy test is valid and accurate; these ar what you need to do;

  1. Take your test the right time: It is recommended that pregnancy tests are taken within a day or two after your missed period. You do not need to wait longer before your test after you’ve missed your period.
  2. Ensure that your pregnancy test kits is unexpired or not damaged: When buying a pregnancy test, be sure to check the date of expiration. Also, make sure test is kept and sealed in the rubber and has no visible damage.
  3. Follow the instructions carefully: Read the manufacturer’s entire guide and follow them as instructed.
  4. Check your test results within the manufacturer’s time frame: Check the results in the advised time frame on the guide. You can possibly have an altered result when you check either too soon or too early.
  5. Be mindful to use your first morning urine: In order to get the best and most accurate result, take your pregnancy test with your early morning urine, as first early morning urines are known to contain higher concentration of the pregnancy hormones( if they are present).

What to do next after testing positive to a pregnancy test?

Finally your results showed up Positive. What are your next steps? Well, if you test positive to a pregnancy results, you either become happy about the news or sad about it.

If you tested positive and that has made you sad, then definitely, it wasn’t what you wanted.  For that matter, you need to;

  1. Consider making a second test to confirm your results. If you do this and it still tested positive.
  2. Schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider to discuss with them about what next to do.

Also, if you tested positive and got happy about the result, then:

  1. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your pregnancy and antenatal care.
  2. Start prenatal vitamin regimen that includes folic acid, which is essential for the development of the baby’s neural tube.
  3. Adopt a healthier lifestyle – be sure to make necessary changes to your diet by eating balanced meals, exercising regularly, getting plenty of rest and avoiding alcohol and smoking.
  4. Discuss with someone you trust; possibly your partner, a relative or a friend.

Starting your pregnancy journey requires that you follow all medical advises while maintaining a healthy lifestyle to ensure your overall wellbeing, together with your baby.

What to do next after testing negative to a pregnancy test?

If you tested negative and that got you sad, know that you’re stronger than this moment. Don’t make your emotions override you. Try retesting in the next month, and let’s keep our fingers crossed for the best. 


In conclusion, an “invalid” reading on a pregnancy test signifies that the test failed to provide a definitive result regarding whether you’re pregnant or not.

This could be caused by various factors including errors in performing the test, use of a damaged or expired kit, or checking the results outside the advised timing.

It is note-worthy to understand that an invalid result do not offer any insight into whether you’re pregnant or not. In cases like that, it is best and recommended to use a newer, unexpired or undamaged test to retry.

Also, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guide in order to get the most accurate results. If you get an unexpected result, just calm dow, contact your healthcare professional to discuss further options. If you got what you expected, Huray!


Georgina Austin

Georgina Austin

Georgina is a certified midwife, a seasoned writer and a mother of twins - Noel and Noelle. She brings to this blog eleven years of experience in maternity support, coupled with her personal motherhood adventures to give you factual information on women's health.

Aside writing on pregnancy and breastfeeding, she writes on sexual health concerns, birth control guides, egg donation, sibling dynamics, and balancing the demands of multiple children.