Pregnancy is not a new phenomenon. Women have been getting pregnant and giving birth for many thousands of years, and it is almost a certainty that they have been trying for the same length of time to find ways of confirming their pregnancy in its early stages. The options of visiting a doctor or buying an over-the-counter pregnancy test from a pharmacy were not available to the ancestors of modern women. They relied on what is now called a DIY pregnancy test, and their traditional methods can still be used today.
Reasons for choosing a DIY pregnancy test
Although consultation with a doctor is recommended for pregnant women, in order to ensure their health and that of the child they are carrying, there are many reasons why a woman may not wish to use the services of a medical practitioner or pharmacy in order to confirm her pregnancy:
- The service offered by the doctor or pharmacy may be too expensive. (DIY pregnancy tests cost almost nothing.)
- It may be too difficult to get to the doctor’s rooms or visit a pharmacy (The ‘home’ part of ‘homemade pregnancy test’ says it all, because the ingredients are at your fingertips.)
- Her pregnancy may be a matter of inconvenience or embarrassment, or there may be other reasons for secrecy. (She is the only one who needs to know when she takes a DIY pregnancy test.)
- She may be an advocate of natural childbirth and wish to minimize her contact with the medical profession. (Homemade pregnancy tests rely on the same indicators used by doctors and pharmacists, but without their involvement.)
- The anxiety of waiting for a medical or over-the-counter test may to too much to bear. (DIY pregnancy tests can be conducted quickly , at any time of day or night.)
The role of hormone hCG in homemade pregnancy tests
Pregnancy tests administered by a doctor or bought at a pharmacy are looking for the presence of a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) in a woman’s urine. This hormone is made by cells working to form the placenta, which protects and nourishes the fertilized egg after it has become attached to the wall of the uterus. Homemade pregnancy tests – except for the oldest one of all, the observation of the natural physical signs of pregnancy – are also trying to detect the occurrence of hCG in a woman’s urine.
So the most reliable homemade pregnancy test methods include not only observing the natural signs of pregnancy, but also the DIY hCG detectors – the bleach pregnancy test, the sugar pregnancy test, the toothpaste pregnancy test and a number of other techniques .
How Accurate Are Homemade Pregnancy Tests?
Homemade pregnancy tests are simple, quick, and easy to do. However, they are not scientifically proven methods of determining whether or not you are pregnant. So, while they may be fun to try, it is important to remember that their results are not reliable.
Pregnancy tests are designed to tell if your urine or blood contains a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone is only present in your body if you are pregnant.
So, if a homemade pregnancy test can detect the presence of hCG, then it should be able to accurately tell you whether or not you are pregnant, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.
While some homemade pregnancy tests may be able to detect hCG in your urine, there is no guarantee that they will be accurate. In fact, many of these tests can give false positive or false negative results.
So, if you’re looking for a scientifically proven method of determining whether or not you’re pregnant, you’ll need to stick with traditional methods, such as urine tests or blood tests. These tests have been designed and tested to be as accurate as possible.
Plus, they are easy to use and can usually be found for less than $10. But if you’re just looking for a fun way to pass the time, and you’re not too worried about accuracy, then go ahead and give a homemade pregnancy test a try.
When Is Best Time To Take A Pregnancy Test?
As many women know, a missed period is often one of the first signs of pregnancy. However, not every woman will have a missed period when she is pregnant, and some women experience implantation bleeding.
Implantation bleeding occurs when the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. This can happen around the time that you would normally expect your period, and some women mistake it for their period. Implantation bleeding is usually lighter than a normal period, and lasts for a shorter time.
Another reason you might miss your period is if you’re under a lot of stress. Stress can disrupt your body’s hormone levels and prevent you from ovulating. If you’re not ovulating, you won’t get your period.
If you think you may be pregnant, take a pregnancy test to be sure. If you are pregnant, you should see your doctor to discuss your pregnancy and how to best take care of yourself and your baby.
In cases where you cannot wait for your missed period, you can take the test as soon as two weeks after conception. In the event that you get a negative test result, wait five days and retake it.
Bleach pregnancy test
Common household bleach is found in almost every home, sitting on a laundry shelf or under the kitchen sink, waiting to be used for whitening clothes, stain removal or disinfection. Now you can use this inexpensive item in yet another way, to detect your pregnancy. Simply pour a portion of bleach into a container and add a sample of your urine. Watch the mixture for a chemical reaction. If it foams and fizzes, there is good chance that you are pregnant, but if there is no reaction it is likely that you are not pregnant.
The problem with the bleach pregnancy test, and indeed all DIY pregnancy tests, is that there is no specified amount of either bleach or urine (try a 50/50 ratio, perhaps) nor a recommended time limit within which the chemical reaction should occur. Also remember that bleach is a potentially dangerous substance. For safety’s sake wear rubber or disposable gloves, and take the container of bleach outdoors before adding the urine in order to avoid the harmful effect of noxious fumes in a confined space.
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Sugar pregnancy test
Sugar is another common and inexpensive household item that can be used to test for pregnancy. Put several spoonsful of sugar into a bowl and add urine to it, or urinate directly onto the sugar. This time you are looking for the formation of clumps of sugar. If the sugar does form clumps it is a sign that you are pregnant. If the sugar merely dissolves into the liquid when the urine is added, you are probably not pregnant.
All home pregnancy tests, including the sugar pregnancy test, are best done first thing in the morning on waking, when the urine is more concentrated. If it is not possible to do the test in the morning, preserve a sample of the first urine of the day in a sealable container and use it later.
Toothpaste pregnancy test
Next on your pregnancy test shopping list comes toothpaste. You need the plain white variety, not the fancy type made with gel or displaying colored stripes. There are two things that can happen to indicate pregnancy when urine is added. The toothpaste may turn light blue in color, or it may start to froth and foam. Either of these reactions may be interpreted as a positive indication of pregnancy. Unfortunately there is once again no indication of how much toothpaste or urine to use, or how long to wait for a result. An additional drawback is the tendency for the toothpaste to froth in any case if left in contact in the urine for long enough, even when the subject is not pregnant. The possibility for a confusing outcome suggests that the toothpaste pregnancy test should only be used as a back-up to other pregnancy tests.
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Dandelion pregnancy test
The presence of dandelion leaves in this pregnancy test tends to indicate that it was first developed centuries ago when women were more in touch with the natural world and the lore of herbs. Yet dandelion is still a common weed, able to be found in all but the most meticulously-tended gardens or parkland. It is best to choose leaves from dandelions that are growing in the shade, since contact with direct sunlight can obstruct the efficiency of this test. Keep on protecting the leaves from sunlight once you have gathered them.
Place the leaves in a plastic container and add enough early morning urine to soak them thoroughly. Return after 10 minutes to check for signs of reddish blisters on the leaves. These blisters are a clear indication of pregnancy. If there are no blisters in evidence, keep checking at ten minute intervals until you are convinced that the leaves are not going to react to the urine: no reaction means no pregnancy.
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Pine sol pregnancy test
The pine sol test may be another DIY pregnancy test with origins in the mists of time. Although “Pine-Sol” is now a standard household cleaning product, women were making their own pine sol long before it became a brand name belonging to a major corporation. So you can either buy a bottle of original, unscented Pine-Sol at the grocery store, or simply collect pine cones, pine needles, and pine twigs and leaves. Instead of adding water to your collection, as your ancestors might have done to create a powerful antiseptic solution, just add urine. What you are looking for is a change in color, which indicates pregnancy. This change in color is probably more easily detected using commercial Pine-Sol rather than something you gathered in a park.
Vinegar pregnancy test
White vinegar is perhaps the cheapest ingredient to use for a homemade pregnancy test, if cost is a major consideration for you. Add morning urine to a cup of white vinegar and once again wait for a color change as a positive indicator of pregnancy. Trial and error appear to be the best recommendations where relative quantities of the two liquids are concerned, and also for how long you need to wait for the color to change.
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Advantages of homemade pregnancy tests
The kind of pregnancy test you can make at home is cheap and readily available. You probably won’t even need to step out of your door, because the ingredients you need are already in your pantry or closet, or in your garden at the furthest. There are no complicated instructions to follow, just a few observations to make, based on the same fundamental science used by your doctor and your pharmacist.
Negative Drawbacks of DIY pregnancy tests
One thing that all of these homemade pregnancy tests have in common is that there is no scientific evidence to show that they work. It would be too much to call them all “old wives’ tales” because they are based on science and look for hCG, just like the tests at the pharmacy.
Yet, few of the do-it-yourself pregnancy tests give clear instructions about how much urine or additive to use or how much time to wait before deciding whether the test is positive or negative. Also, the instructions are frustratingly vague about things like foaming, clumping, blistering, and changing color. Before coming to a clear conclusion, it almost seems like you would have to do all of the pregnancy tests in order.
It is also true that home pregnancy tests don’t work as well as the ones made by drug companies as early in the pregnancy cycle. Some medical tests can find hCG in a blood sample only 11 days after conception, and in urine 12–14 days after conception. Home pregnancy tests, on the other hand, only use how urine reacts with other substances. Most homemade tests don’t work if they are done more than six days before the next menstrual period is due.
Could I Be Pregnant? If I am pregnant, how soon will I know?
Each woman’s pregnancy experience is unique. Some women detect their pregnancy within the first few days of pregnancy, while others don’t notice anything until they miss a period. It is also possible for some women to not discover they are pregnant until a few months after conception.
A pregnancy test is the most accurate way to find out if you’re expecting. A pregnancy test measures a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG). During pregnancy, this hormone starts to build in your body from the moment of conception and multiplies rapidly.
Although it appears early in the process, it takes some time for your body to build up enough levels of hCG to register on a pregnancy test. A pregnancy test usually shows a positive result three to four weeks after the first day of your last period.
What is the earliest time I can take a pregnancy test?
Since it takes time for the hormone hCG to build up in your body, it’s best to wait until you miss your period before taking a home pregnancy test. It is possible for a pregnancy test to come up negative before this point, even if you are actually pregnant.
Common signs and symptoms of pregnancy
The most common early signs and symptoms of pregnancy might include:
- Missed period. A week without a menstrual cycle might indicate you are pregnant if you are in your childbearing years. If you have an irregular menstrual cycle, this symptom can be misleading.
- Tender, swollen breasts. In the early stages of pregnancy, hormonal changes can cause your breasts to become sensitive and sore. As your body adjusts to hormonal changes, the discomfort will likely decrease.
- Nausea with or without vomiting. In the first two months after becoming pregnant, you may experience morning sickness at any time of the day or night. There are, however, some women who feel nausea earlier and some who never do. The cause of nausea during pregnancy is unknown, but pregnancy hormones are likely to play a role.
- Increased urination. There is a possibility that you will need to urinate more frequently than usual. Pregnancy causes your body to produce more blood, which is processed by your kidneys and ends up in your bladder.
- Fatigue. Among the early symptoms of pregnancy, fatigue ranks high. There is no scientific explanation for why pregnant women feel sleepy during the first trimester. During early pregnancy, progesterone levels may rise rapidly, contributing to fatigue.
Less common signs of early pregnancy
Besides the more common signs of early pregnancy, there are also some less common ones. There is no guarantee that these signs of pregnancy will occur, just as they might not occur with the most common symptoms. Symptoms will differ from person to person, so remember that every person is different.
The following are less common signs of early pregnancy:
- Moodiness. Pregnant women can become emotional and weepy due to the flood of hormones in their bodies. It is also common to experience mood swings.
- Bloating. During early pregnancy, hormonal changes can make you feel bloated, similar to how you feel at the beginning of a period.
- Light spotting. One of the first signs of pregnancy might be light spotting. After conception, about 10-14 days after fertilization, the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus, leading to implantation bleeding. In most women, implantation bleeding occurs around the time of their menstrual cycle. It is, however, not common among all women.
- Cramping. There are some women who experience mild uterine cramps during pregnancy.
- Constipation. When your hormones change, your digestive system slows down, causing constipation.
- Food aversions. It’s possible that you will become more sensitive to certain odors and tastes when you’re pregnant. Hormonal changes can explain these food preferences, as well as most other pregnancy symptoms.
- Nasal congestion. A rise in hormone levels and blood production can cause your mucous membranes to swell, dry out, and bleed easily. As a result, you may feel stuffy or have a runny nose.
Is it possible to have early pregnancy symptoms without being pregnant?
It is important to note that many of these symptoms and signs aren’t unique to pregnancy. You might start getting sick or start your period if you experience some of these symptoms. It is also possible to be pregnant without experiencing many of these symptoms.
In any case, if you miss a period and notice some of the above signs or symptoms, you should take a home pregnancy test or see your health care provider. Make an appointment with your health care provider if your home pregnancy test is positive. Having your pregnancy confirmed as soon as possible will allow you to start prenatal care as soon as possible.
Taking a daily prenatal vitamin is a good idea if you are planning to conceive or have just discovered you are pregnant. To support your baby’s growth and development, prenatal vitamins usually contain folic acid and iron.
- Hormones during pregnancy. (n.d.).
- Mayo clinic staff. (2019). Home pregnancy tests: Can you trust the results?
- Solvents and pregnancy. (2014).
- Mayo Clinic: “Home pregnancy tests: Can you trust the results?”
- Medical News Today: “Is the bleach pregnancy test a myth?”
- Mom Junction: “Is The Bleach Pregnancy Test Accurate And Reliable?”