Homemade Pregnancy Tests: How Accurate Are They?

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Homemade Pregnancy Tests: How Accurate Are They?

Homemade pregnancy tests can be useful to discretely check to see if you are pregnant or not. Making your own pregnancy test is very simple and it works on the same principle as regular pregnancy testing kits. A hormone in your urine creates a chemical reaction with a natural substance which can help you to know if you are pregnant or not.

Some natural ingredients in DIY pregnancy tests include vinegar, baking soda, soap, dandelion leaves, or sugar. So, you probably already have most of these things in your home to make your own low-cost pregnancy test kit. If you think you are pregnant and want to quickly check if you are pregnant or not, one of these DIY home pregnancy tests might work for you.

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In this article, I’m going to look at some of the most popular traditional homemade pregnancy tests that have been used for centuries. I will also discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of making your own testing kits to check for pregnancy at home.

What Are Homemade Pregnancy Tests?

Pregnancy testing kits that you can buy in the pharmacy and check for pregnancy at home are a relatively new invention. According to the National Institutes of Health, it wasn’t until the 1970s when pregnancy kits were made widely available.1

Homemade methods of testing for pregnancy have been around for thousands of years. For example, the ancient Egyptians poured urine from women who may be pregnant over barley seeds. If a woman was pregnant, then the seeds sprouted and grew quickly. Scientists have actually found that in 70% of the time, this “homemade” pregnancy test was accurate.

During the middle ages, people would mix urine with wine and observe the results. Scientists say that this type of DIY pregnancy testing would work because proteins in urine react with alcohol.

However, in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century, scientists discovered that certain hormones can be detected in the urine of pregnant women. These discoveries helped to explain why many home pregnancy tests would have worked with varying degrees of accuracy.

How Do Homemade Pregnancy Tests Work?

Homemade pregnancy tests work on the same principle as modern pregnancy tests.

The journal Human Reproduction says that all pregnancy tests measure the amount of the hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG). Traces of hCG can be detected in the blood and urine of pregnant women as early as 3-4 days after implantation. According to researchers, measuring for hCG is one of the most accurate ways to test for pregnancy.2

Homemade pregnancy tests look for signs that hCG is in the urine by observing how your urine reacts with different substances. For example, sometimes the urine will start fizzing, foaming, or change color.

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Advantages of Homemade Pregnancy Tests

For many women, the main advantages that homemade pregnancy tests offer are that it is a cost-effective test and very easy to do yourself.

However, there are some other advantages of using a DIY home pregnancy testing kit. For example, you can easily test for pregnancy with vinegar, salt, or soap in the privacy of your own home without anyone ever knowing.

Although the cost of commercially produced home pregnancy testing kits has reduced significantly in recent years, homemade pregnancy kits cost almost next to nothing. This also means that if you need to take repeated tests because you are anxious about being pregnant, you don’t have to worry about the cost.

Disadvantages of DIY Pregnancy Test Kits

One of the disadvantages of making a home pregnancy kit is that the results are not always accurate. For example, it can be difficult to know the exact quantities of urine or substance to use for best results.

There is also the risk of other substances contaminating the test and throwing up false positives. Or, you could get negative results when you are actually pregnant (false negative pregnancy test results).

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try some of the natural pregnancy tests in this article. Even with the type of pregnancy tests where you pee on a strip or stick, it may show up as negative because there is not enough hCG detected in your urine. However, according to the journal Human Reproduction, false positives are very rare with commercially produced pregnancy tests.2

Are Homemade Pregnancy Tests Reliable?

Many homemade pregnancy tests have some degree of reliability. However, claims about the accuracy of homemade pregnancy tests are usually based on anecdotal evidence rather than scientific research.

But, it is good to remember that DIY pregnancy tests aren’t just “old wives’ tales.” They all work in a similar way to a regular pregnancy test – a reaction to hCG pregnancy hormone.

One of the reasons that pregnancy tests that you can make from ingredients in your home aren’t as reliable as commercial pregnancy tests is because it’s difficult to quantify specific amounts. Also, the pregnancy test results may be vague or they could be caused by other compounds in the urine causing a reaction.

The Most Common Homemade Pregnancy Tests

Let’s look in more detail as some of the most popular homemade pregnancy tests that you can quickly do at home.

Vinegar pregnancy test

A homemade pregnancy test with vinegar may help you to know if you are pregnant or not. This home test relies on a chemical reaction between your urine and white distilled vinegar. If the vinegar changes color, it could be a sign that you are pregnant.

How to do it:

To make a pregnancy DIY vinegar test, you will need white distilled vinegar and a bowl. This is what you should do:

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  1. Pour in 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar in a bowl.
  2. Collect 1/2 cup of urine first thing in the morning.
  3. Pour the urine into the vinegar.
  4. Wait for 5 minutes or so to see if the vinegar has changed color.

If the vinegar changes color, it is a good sign that you could be pregnant. Now, you should arrange to see your doctor or buy a home pregnancy test kit to confirm the result.

Homemade pregnancy test using soap

Soap is another method to check at home if you are pregnant without buying any pregnancy testing kits. Soap also contains chemicals that react to the hCG hormone to create a natural pregnancy test.

How to do it:

To make a homemade pregnancy test with soap, you will need some soap and a small container to conduct the test in. This is how to test for pregnancy using soap:

  1. Put a small piece of regular soap in a clean cup.
  2. Collect about 2-3 tablespoons of morning urine.
  3. Add to the cup and wait for up to 5 minutes.

If you are pregnant, the urine in the cup should start foaming.

Dandelion leaves to test for pregnancy

You can make your own cost-effective homemade pregnancy test by collecting dandelion leaves and soaking them in your urine. A positive pregnancy test will cause red bumps or blisters to appear on the leaves.

Many people say that the accuracy of a dandelion leaf pregnancy test is due to the plant’s reaction to hCG hormone levels. The most accurate time to use this homemade pregnancy test would be a day or so after your missed period.

How to do it:

Here are the necessary steps to create your cheap homemade pregnancy testing kit:

  1. Collect 3-4 fresh dandelion leaves.
  2. Place the leaves in a clean container and pee into the container to cover the leaves.
  3. Let the dandelion leaves soak for 10 minutes in your urine.
  4. Have a look at the leaves to see if red blisters have appeared.
  5. If so, it may be a sign that you are pregnant.

Wine homemade pregnancy test

A homemade pregnancy test that has some degree of accuracy is using wine.

According to researchers from the National Institute of Health, using wine as a DIY test for pregnancy can have some success. It was found that proteins present in the urine of pregnant women react with the wine and change its color.1

How to do it:

For the DIY pregnancy test using wine, you will need some white wine. This is what you should do:

  1. Pour 1/2 cup of white wine in a bowl.
  2. Add 1/2 of urine from a sample collected first thing in the morning.
  3. Leave the pregnancy test for 10 minutes.
  4. See if there are any changes to the color of the mixture which will indicate if you are pregnant.

Homemade sugar pregnancy test

Another common household item that you can use to create a free home pregnancy test is sugar. Urine that contains the hCG hormone may make the sugar clump together rather than dissolve the sugar.

How to do it:

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To make a sugar pregnancy test, this is what you should do:

  1. Put 3 tablespoons of white granulated sugar in a large cup.
  2. Urinate into the cup until it is just over 1/2 full. (Remember to use your morning pee).
  3. Leave the cup for 10 minutes.
  4. Check the homemade pregnancy test to see if the sugar has formed into clumps.
  5. If so, you should arrange a pregnancy test at your doctors and check for the early signs of pregnancy.

Toothpaste pregnancy test

Urine that has hCG hormone in it will cause white toothpaste to start foaming or turn a light blue color. Unfortunately, with this homemade pregnancy test, it is difficult to know how much toothpaste to use. Toothpaste can also start to foam even if a person isn’t pregnant.

For the toothpaste pregnancy test method to work, you should use plain white regular toothpaste and not the gel toothpaste or toothpaste with stripes in it.

How to do it:

If you want to try the toothpaste method to check for pregnancy, this is what you need to do:

  1. Squeeze about a tablespoon of white toothpaste in a cup or container.
  2. Pee into a separate cup and add about 2 tablespoons of your urine sample to the toothpaste.
  3. Wait for a few minutes to observe if the color of toothpaste changes to blue or it starts to foam.

This may not be the most accurate homemade pregnancy test because it is difficult to know the exact ingredients of each toothpaste.

Pine-Sol

Pine-Sol is a disinfecting cleaning agent that many people have in their home. A homemade pregnancy kit using Pine-Sol can help to determine early pregnancy because it can change color when mixed with urine from pregnant women.

How to do it:

To use Pine Sol to make your own pregnancy testing kit that doesn’t cost a lot of money, this is what you should do:

  1. Put 1/2 cup of Pine Sol in a clean and sterile bowl.
  2. Add ½ cup of morning pee sample to the mixture.
  3. Leave for up to 5 minutes.
  4. Check to see if the mixture has turned a different color.

Baking soda

Baking soda has many uses around the home and you can create your very own home pregnancy DIY kit.

Baking soda may work for you to help determine if you are pregnant or not. However, there is no scientific evidence to back up claims that baking soda can help detect pregnancy.

How to do it:

For this home pregnancy DIY test, you will need some baking soda and your urine. You should follow these steps:

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  1. Put 2 tablespoons baking soda in a small bowl.
  2. Pour in a sample of your morning urine to the baking soda.
  3. If the DIY test starts to bubble like soda pop, you may be pregnant.
  4. To confirm pregnancy, you could try another of above home pregnancy tests the next morning or arrange a visit to see your doctor.

Pregnancy test with bleach

In this homemade pregnancy test you simply mix 1/2 cup each of bleach with your morning urine in a bowl. After about 5 minutes the mixture will be foaming and fizzing if you are pregnant.

This pregnancy test is not recommended as it is dangerous to inhale the fumes of the bleach, and the mixture itself produces toxic gas. If however you choose to do this test, you will need to cover your mouth and nose with a mask and wear gloves.

Another concern with this test is that it seems that it’s the ammonia that reacts with bleach, and not the hCG pregnancy hormone. Also the lack of standardization with different concentrations of bleach may generate inaccurate results, so this method is overall not recommended. 6, 7

How to Increase the Accuracy of Homemade Pregnancy Tests

If you decide to try out some home pregnancy tests, there are a number of ways you can increase their accuracy.

How to make homemade pregnancy tests more accurate:

  • Only use your morning urine for the samples. Levels of hCG are at their highest first thing in the morning.
  • Use enough urine so that there is enough hCG to create a reaction. A good rule of thumb is the same amount of urine as the test substance.
  • Wait for at least 5 minutes before looking for pregnancy test results.
  • The best time to take a pregnancy test to avoid a false negative would be at least a day after your missed period.
  • Try several tests to help confirm if you are pregnant or not.

Many home pregnancy tests are accurate enough to detect pregnancy on the first day after a missed period. However, usually, the results from a home pregnancy test kit are most accurate a week after your missed period.

Accurate Ways to Test for Pregnancy at Home

One of the most accurate ways to test for pregnancy at home is to buy a home pregnancy testing kit. According to Dr. Sarah Marshal from Healthwise, home pregnancy tests can accurately diagnose pregnancy. These home pregnancy tests check for the presence of hCG in the urine and are the same type of test as are done in doctors’ offices.3

If you are pregnant, you will usually see 2 lines appear on the test strip. Even if the second line is very faint, it still means that you are pregnant.

Signs that You Might be Pregnant

It could be that you notice signs of early pregnancy even before you take a homemade pregnancy test. Many of these early pregnancy signs are noticeable before your missed period.

Some of the most common signs that you are pregnant include:

Light spotting and cramping. According to expert in obstetrics and gynecology Dr. Trina Pagano, implantation spotting and cramping can happen as early as 6 days after the egg is fertilized. For many women, the cramping feels like light menstrual cramps.4

At the same time, you might notice some signs of spotting or that your vaginal discharge becomes milky white.

Breast changes. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that early in pregnancy, you might notice that your breasts get larger and are more swollen. This is due to surges in your hormones as your body adjusts to pregnancy.5

Increased urination. You might find that you have to use the bathroom more frequently if you have become pregnant. This happens as your kidneys produce more fluid that increases the need to urinate.

Missed period. For women who have regular menstrual cycles, missing a period will usually prompt them to get a pregnancy test.

Other early signs of pregnancy include food aversions, nausea and vomiting, headaches, mood swings, and dizziness.

Read my other related articles:

Medical References

  1. NIH. A timeline of pregnancy testing.
  2. Hum Reprod.1992 May;7(5):701-10.
  3. WebMD. Home pregnancy tests.
  4. WebMD. Pregnancy symptoms.
  5. MayoClinic. Symptoms of pregnancy.
  6. Washington States Department of Health. Dangers of Mixing Bleach with Cleaners.
  7. TabletsManual.com. Domestic Pregnancy Test – Myth or Truth?
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