Online Forums "Tweak" Photos To Confirm Pregnancies

Women trying to get pregnant use the Internet to change their negative pregnancy tests to positive ones

When you’re trying to get pregnant (or weren’t trying but think you might be), you want to know as soon as possible. Anxiety, fear, hope and medical issues are all reasons why knowing sooner is better. While many at-home pregnancy tests boast about being the first to confirm your pregnancy (within 10 to 14 days of fertilization), early tests can still come up negative.  So women have turned to the Internet for help and have come up with “tweaking” to prove they are pregnant.

Popular on baby forums and sites, “tweaking” is when a woman posts a photo of her negative home pregnancy test online and other women edit the photo, adjusting things like contrast and brightness, hoping to enhance the faint second line that could be invisble to the naked eye and would mean a positive result. 

“Many women who resort to needing their tests tweaked are having trouble conceiving or have experienced a loss and feel knowing sooner would be better,” Kathleen Dziadik, a mother and “tweaker”, told BuzzFeed. “It brings joy to me to be the first to say, ‘I see a line!’”

While it seems like a good idea, doctors warn that tweaking to see the second line isn’t a definitive positive.

“We don’t really know yet how accurate the tweaking is,” said Dr. Scott Sullivan, the director of maternal-fetal medicine at the Medical University of South Caroline and an OB-GYN. “Of course it could be wrong. It might be that the technology or the tweaking itself might not be right.”

Second lines can show up if the dye runs, the photo editing was too harsh or a in the case of a chemical pregnancy.

Chemical pregnancies are essentially early miscarriages, when the fertilized egg fails to survive. Chemical pregnancies are common and have no symptoms and, because most women don’t know they’re pregnant that early, the miscarriage happens without their knowledge.

“I did have a few very early losses that I discovered from tweaking tests,” said Micah Farmer, a Virginia mom who tweaked her own photos and other women’s.  “Unfortunately, if I hadn’t been testing early, I likely wouldn’t have known that I was pregnant, so testing before your missed period comes with its warnings.”

While forums and threads encourage women to take a second pregnancy test after their tweaked ones confirm they are pregnant, many see the online community of tweaking as a support group as they try to get pregnant.

“I like to tweak for others because it brings them hope,” said Dziadik.

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