Positive Pregnancy Test After a Miscarriage - Is It Normal?

Positive Pregnancy Test After a Miscarriage – Is It Normal?

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Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
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Of the millions of pregnancies that end in miscarriages yearly, less than twenty per cent are actual pregnancies, whereas the others are known as chemical pregnancies. This means that the pregnancy was terminated before it was detected or confirmed. However, sometimes after a miscarriage, women might continue to have pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness. In this case, they might be convinced to take a pregnancy test. Discovering a positive pregnancy test after a miscarriage can combine emotions, blending hope and apprehension. It represents a potential new chapter in the journey of parenthood, accompanied by a heightened sense of caution and a longing for a healthy pregnancy. This article will explain what it means if you get a pregnancy test positive after a miscarriage.

Can a Pregnancy Test Show a Positive Result After a Miscarriage?

As strange as it sounds, a positive pregnancy test is possible after a miscarriage. However, in almost all cases, this is a false-positive result.

Common Causes of False-Positive Tests After Pregnancy Loss

Here are some common causes of a false-positive test after the loss of pregnancy.

1. Presence of hCG Hormone

hCG is continuously produced by the placenta during pregnancy and is responsible for maintaining the early development of the foetus. However, since miscarriages are usually sudden, the shock to the system requires some time to reset. During this period, hCG might still be produced and can result in a positive pregnancy test.

2. Incomplete Miscarriage

In some cases, miscarriages may be incomplete. A fragment of the ovum might still be in the uterus. This scenario may also lead to a false-positive result. A positive pregnancy test 8 weeks after miscarriage indicates that it was incomplete.

3. Molar Pregnancy

A rare condition known as molar disease or molar pregnancy can be the reason for a false positive on the pregnancy test. This condition is a type of gestational trophoblastic disease and is of two types. In a complete molar pregnancy, the embryo or normal placental tissue is absent. In a partial molar pregnancy, the embryo and normal placental tissue are present, but the embryo is abnormal and malformed. Molar pregnancies have dangerous complications, including cancer, and necessitate immediate treatment.

Other Possible Causes of Getting a Positive Test After a Miscarriage

Some other reasons why you would get a positive test after a miscarriage are as follows:

  • It is possible to become pregnant again if you have been sexually active after a miscarriage, especially in the first menstrual cycle. In this case, you could have a truly positive pregnancy test, but it requires confirmation with blood tests.
  • Certain medical drugs could also lead to a positive pregnancy test, such as Pregnyl or Profasi, as these drugs contain hCG.
  • Kidney disease can be caused, due to protein secretion into the urine.

What to Do If a Pregnancy Test is Positive After a Miscarriage?

Ideally, it would be best if you cross-check by taking the pregnancy test using strips from different companies. Next, you can ask your doctor for a blood test, which measures the absence or presence of the hCG hormone in your body and the current level. This test should be performed approximately two weeks after the miscarriage. In very rare situations, a pregnancy test still positive after a miscarriage could mean that you had a multiple pregnancy, where only one embryo was miscarried, but the other is still alive.

When Do HCG Levels Return to Normal After Miscarriage?

After a miscarriage, the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) levels in a woman’s body gradually decline and return to normal. The timeframe for this process can vary, but on average, it takes about 4 to 6 weeks for HCG levels to return to pre-pregnancy baseline values completely. It is important to note that individual factors, such as the gestational age at the time of the miscarriage and any remaining pregnancy tissue, may influence the duration of HCG clearance. Regular monitoring by a healthcare professional and follow-up testing can provide a more accurate assessment of HCG level progression and ensure a healthy recovery.

A successful early pregnancy is indicated by the level of hCG, which rises with each passing day during the early pregnancy and peaks at its highest at around 8–10 weeks. If you miscarried early in your pregnancy, your levels are typically low and your time to zero for hCG is shorter. On the other hand, if levels were high during the miscarriage or the pregnancy was advanced, it can take a few days or weeks for the levels to drop to zero. 


1. What Does a Positive Pregnancy Test 12 Weeks After Miscarriage Mean?

A positive pregnancy test around 12 weeks after a miscarriage is almost certainly because you are pregnant again. However, this only applies if you are sexually active and aiming to conceive.

2. How Long Will a Pregnancy Test Be Positive After a Miscarriage?

The standard operating principle of a pregnancy strip is visual. Once you have urinated on it, the appearance of one line means you are not pregnant, while two lines mean you are. Since modern pregnancy strips are very accurate, they can show a positive result even weeks after a miscarriage due to the minuscule amounts of hCG circulating in the body.

Pregnancy Test

3. When Can You Get Pregnant After Having a Miscarriage?

Getting pregnant after a miscarriage is not difficult. The likelihood of pregnancy immediately after a miscarriage is only lowered by five per cent. In the past, it was believed that becoming pregnant within six months of a miscarriage was linked to complications like stillbirth and toxaemia. However, modern studies show that there is no risk associated with pregnancies immediately after having a miscarriage.

4. Can I Take a Pregnancy Test to See If I Had a Miscarriage or Not?

No, a pregnancy test cannot definitively determine whether or not you have had a miscarriage. Pregnancy tests work by detecting the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced during pregnancy. However, HCG can remain in the body for a period of time after a miscarriage, so a positive pregnancy test does not necessarily indicate a current pregnancy. Suppose you suspect you may have had a miscarriage. In that case, it is recommended to consult a healthcare professional who can evaluate your symptoms, medical history, and perform appropriate diagnostic tests, such as ultrasound or blood tests, to determine if a miscarriage has occurred.

If pregnancy tests show a positive result consistently after you have undergone a miscarriage, the best thing to do is seek your doctor’s recommendation. In most cases, this is a false positive test and will have no complications. However, as the article explains, some rare possibilities can severely impact your health. Getting a thorough examination is essential. Further, if you observe continuous bleeding, vaginal discharge, fever or pelvic aches, consult your doctor, as this might indicate an infection.


1. Chemical pregnancy; Tommy’s; https://www.tommys.org/baby-loss-support/miscarriage-information-and-support/types-of-miscarriage/chemical-pregnancy-information-and-support

2. Betz. D, Fane. K; Human Chorionic Gonadotropin; NIH; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK532950/; August 2022

3. Butts, Samantha. F, Wensheng, et al.; Predicting the Decline in Human Chorionic Gonadotropin in a Resolving Pregnancy of Unknown Location; Obstetrics & Gynecology; https://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Abstract/2013/08000/Predicting_the_Decline_in_Human_Chorionic.22.aspx; August 2013

4. hCG Levels After a Miscarriage or a Medical Abortion; invitra; https://www.invitra.com/en/hcg-levels-after-a-miscarriage/; March 2016

5. Early Pregnancy Loss; ACOG; https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/early-pregnancy-loss

6. Mamari. NA, Zawai. NA, Khayat. S, et al.; Revisiting serum β-hCG cut-off levels and pregnancy outcomes using single embryo transfer; PubMed Central; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6885463/; Oct 2019

Also Read: Positive Pregnancy Test But No Symptoms – Is it Possible?

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