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I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant Because of the Hook Effect

A negative pregnancy test can be a relief to some women. Perhaps you took a pregnancy test and the single line lifted weights from your heart and shoulders. But, as the days and weeks passed, you couldn’t help but feel…different. And you started to think maybe that pregnancy test wasn’t right, because why else would you be having symptoms of pregnancy? Maybe this pressing feeling led you to take another pregnancy test and your sneaking suspicions became reality: it turns out you really are pregnant.

Did you find out you’re unexpectedly pregnant after being led to believe you weren’t? Sorting through this unforeseen news can be a shocking and difficult path to tread alone. If you need more support as you decide how to go forward with your pregnancy, Avenue Women’s Center is here for you. Confirm your pregnancy with a free, medical-grade test. Afterward, discuss your pregnancy options and address your concerns with one of our expert pregnancy consultants. With our available resources and limited medical services, we look forward to partnering with you in any way we can.

Schedule an appointment today!

The Hook Effect – What Is It?

In short, the Hook Effect is a rare occurrence in medical testing which causes a false negative. In pregnancy tests, the Hook Effect occurs when there is too much hCG (pregnancy hormone) in the urine sample. While rare, this can occur when the pregnancy test is overloaded with pregnancy hormone to the point where it doesn’t recognize the presence of hCG.

The Importance of Accuracy

Perhaps after seeing the negative result you continued living your life as normal. Usually, when pregnant, there are certain things to refrain from such as too much caffeine, alcohol, or other activities that may be risky to you and your pregnancy. So, if you believed you weren’t pregnant, you may have continued your life that way! It’s possible that now, after finding out you really have been pregnant this whole time, you’re worried about the health of your pregnancy.

This is why, even if you have a negative result but still feel as if you could be pregnant, it’s important to receive confirmation.

When You Think You’re Off The Hook

Thinking one thing for a while only to find out the opposite is true can be a tricky circumstance to process through. When you could have been looking at your pregnancy options or preparing for pregnancy, instead you thought you weren’t pregnant. Maybe you feel as if you’ve lost precious time in making a decision or figuring out how to move forward.

As you grapple with this news and the options before you, it’s crucial not to rush yourself. Take time to breathe and sort out how you feel and what you’re thinking. Think through your resources, support systems, your values, and dreams, and consider how to best move forward with this pregnancy.

Depending on how far along your pregnancy is after receiving a positive result, if you’re considering abortion, your options may be limited. It’s important to receive factual information and find out what possibilities are open to you. It can be helpful to schedule an ultrasound exam to learn more about how far along you are and the viability of the pregnancy (if it’s likely to continue).

While processing this on your own may be stressful or difficult, it can be helpful to talk with a trusted family member or friend, healthcare provider, therapist, faith leader, or pregnancy consultant. These people should be able to offer perspective, lend a listening ear, and support you as you move forward.

As you figure out how to take your next pregnancy steps amid an unexpected pregnancy, we’re here for you. We can help you confirm your pregnancy with a free medical-grade pregnancy test and give you accurate information about the health of your pregnancy with a free ultrasound exam! Our expert consultants look forward to sitting with you and empowering you in this new circumstance.

Reach out today to schedule an ultrasound exam!



Healthline. (2019, June). Is the ‘Hook Effect’ Messing Up My Home Pregnancy Test? Retrieved from:

Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.