What does a ‘C’ on a pregnancy test mean?

What does a ‘C’ on a pregnancy test mean

Pregnancy tests are a significant step in the journey of family planning. They provide a quick and accessible way to confirm if you're expecting a child. However, interpreting the results can sometimes be confusing, especially when you see a 'C' on the test. In this article, we'll delve into what a 'C' signifies on a pregnancy test and how to understand the results.

Understanding Pregnancy Test Results

Types of Pregnancy Tests

Pregnancy tests come in various forms, including urine and blood tests. Each has its own accuracy level, but they all aim to detect the presence of a hormone called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).

Reading the Results

Most pregnancy tests have two possible outcomes: a positive result or a negative result. However, sometimes, a third symbol - the 'C' - may appear, which can leave you puzzled.

Interpreting 'C' on a Pregnancy Test

What 'C' Stands For

The 'C' stands for "Control." It indicates that the test is working correctly and that it has been used correctly, as well. This control line is a necessary element in the test to validate its accuracy.

Its Significance

When you see a 'C' alongside a '−' or a '+' sign, it's a clear indication that the test was valid, but the result might be positive or negative.

Possible Scenarios

Positive Results

If you see a 'C' next to a '+' sign, it means you're pregnant. Congratulations! This result typically indicates that hCG, the pregnancy hormone, is present in your body.

Negative Results

On the other hand, if the 'C' appears next to a '−' sign, it means the test is working, but you're not pregnant. Keep in mind that other factors might affect your menstrual cycle, so consult a healthcare professional if you're concerned.

Reasons for 'C'

Faulty Test

Sometimes, the 'C' might not appear due to a faulty test. In such cases, the result is unreliable, and you should retake the test.

User Error

Misreading or mishandling the test can also lead to an absent 'C' result. Always follow the instructions carefully to ensure accurate results.

False Positive and False Negative

A 'C' can be accompanied by a '+' sign erroneously, leading to a false positive result. Likewise, a 'C' next to a '−' sign may give a false negative result. Understanding the potential for errors is vital.

Consulting a Healthcare Professional

If you're uncertain about the results or have concerns, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional. They can provide further testing and guidance to confirm your pregnancy status.

Emotional Impact

Pregnancy test results can evoke a wide range of emotions. It's perfectly normal to feel joy, relief, or even disappointment. Seek support from loved ones and healthcare providers.

Common Misconceptions

Don't be swayed by common myths about pregnancy tests. It's important to rely on factual information and professional advice.

Tips for Accurate Testing

To ensure accurate results, follow the test instructions carefully. Test your urine when it's most concentrated, typically in the morning.

Home vs. Clinical Tests

Home pregnancy tests are convenient and affordable, but clinical tests provide more accurate results, especially in the early stages of pregnancy. Consider your options carefully.

Importance of Follow-Up

Regardless of your initial result, follow up with a healthcare provider to confirm your pregnancy and receive appropriate prenatal care.


In conclusion, a 'C' on a pregnancy test indicates that the test was valid and conducted correctly. However, it doesn't define the result as positive or negative. Understanding the meaning of this control line can help you navigate the process with confidence.


Is it possible to get a false positive result with a 'C' on a pregnancy test?

Yes, it's possible due to various factors, including user error or a faulty test.

Can I trust home pregnancy tests?

Home tests are generally reliable, but clinical tests are more accurate, especially in the early stages of pregnancy.

What should I do if I see a 'C' with no other sign on the test?

In such cases, it's best to retake the test, following the instructions carefully.

How soon after a missed period should I take a pregnancy test?

It's best to wait about a week after a missed period for the most accurate results.

Why is it important to consult a healthcare professional?

Healthcare professionals can confirm your pregnancy status and provide guidance on the next steps.