Women didn’t always have the convenient option of a home pregnancy test. Before the days of modern medicine, they had to use some rather unusual methods – and some of these are still in use today. By Lisa Witepski
Think peeing on a stick is unglamorous? You ain’t seen nothing yet, baby! It turns out there’s a surprisingly wide range of substances that may deliver the same result. According to Dr Candice Barnard, a registered homeopath at Genesis Maternity Clinic, what these have in common is the ability to respond to the presence of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG); a hormone that’s present in the urine of pregnant women, because it’s made by the cells working to form the placenta after implantation. “All these DIY pregnancy tests, unfortunately, lack the scientific data and testing to prove their accuracy. That said, we can’t dismiss them entirely as old wives’ tales, since they do have some scientific basis and are looking for hCG, just as the conventional tests do. They may even be a bit of a fun thing to do if you’re up for something experimental, but I wouldn’t bet my bottom dollar on it,” says Dr Barnard.
Ready to have some fun? Then track down some of these household items.
The trick here is to make sure the leaves are not exposed to any sunlight after you’ve cut them. Once you’ve urinated on them, wait 10 minutes, then watch out for a “positive” sign of red bumps on the leaves.
Apparently this is one of the most accurate DIY tests, which requires you to mix your urine with a little bleach in a cup. Look out for a foaming reaction that means a baby is on the way!
Again, you’ll be mixing your urine in a cup. This time, add white toothpaste – no stripes, please! That’s because the toothpaste will change to blue if there’s good news.
Although this test is apparently 97.6% accurate, it only works with the first urine of the day. So do what you have to do, then add three teaspoons of granulated sugar. If the sugar clumps together instead of dissolving, you’re pregnant.
With this test, you have to wait until the fifth day after ovulation (so, yes, you’ll need to be tracking your cycle if you want to give this test a try). Watch what happens to the salt after you’ve mixed it in urine. If it forms a white, cheesy substance after a few minutes, you’re in business.
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.