Read on to learn how to take a homemade pregnancy test, as well as the pros and cons...
Being a natural childbirth advocate and an experienced homebirth mother, I live about as far outside the traditional pregnancy, labor and childbirth box as possible.
Having said that, even I was taken back when I first heard the mention of homemade pregnancy tests from one of my doula clients.
(Just when I was beginning to think I had at least heard of everything…)
I hate being caught unprepared, so you can bet I hopped online, dug into my books and even called a few of my OB and Midwife friends to get the low down.
It turns out there is a current craze for homemade pregnancy tests. Of course these are not new.
The idea of a homemade pregnancy test has been around for centuries. Every major civilization since recorded history began has had some sort of lore regarding pregnancy detection.
But since we don’t live in ancient Babylon, Rome or Egypt and a very reliable home test is available over the counter I was surprised to learn how many people really want to use a test devised by their own two hands, a urine sample and household chemicals.
There are three tests that seem to be most popular: dandelion testing, bleach solution and pine sol freshness. All the tests are simple enough to perform, just basically combining the active substance with urine and watching for the results.
To perform the dandelion test all that is needed is a bunch of dandelion leaves. Place these on a surface that you won’t mind getting saturated with urine, because that is what you are going to do.
Once the leaves are immersed, watch and wait.
A positive indicator of pregnancy is when reddish blisters or discoloration forms on the leaves. It can take upwards of an hour, but can also fade, so the leaves will need to be checked at 10 minute intervals.
The bleach test is simpler. Just combine the bleach with a urine sample. If the bleach fizzes or forms froth, it points to a positive pregnancy test.
Pine sol is a bit trickier to read, but not difficult to perform. As with the bleach combine the pine sol with the urine sample and then wait a few minutes. The signal pointing to pregnancy is a discoloration that will occur in the solution.
As fun as these tests sound, and as economical as these household objects are, there is a fundamental flaw in each.
I am not going to go on about the need to confirm pregnancy with a licensed health care provider, because they have some magical knowledge we as non-medical persons lack.
I will however point out that none of these tests have clear instructions. Yes, you know to combine urine and bleach. But in what amounts?
How much foam is a residue of dumping one liquid into another? Does it need to become as bubbly as a can of sprite? How far along do you need to be before pine sol is sensitive enough to detect the pregnancy hormone hCG?
And the list of unknowns goes on and on.
In my research I also discovered another thing. Most of these homemade pregnancy tests were being sought out by two demographics: teenagers and those experiencing a downturn in personal fortunes.
I have a better solution for economic woes. While everyone knows about over the counter pregnancy tests at drug stores selling for upwards of $15 a pop, relatively few know about much cheaper options with equally reliable and accurate results.
You can buy pregnancy tests online in bulk for mere pennies apiece. Now, if you don’t need 25-100 pregnancy tests, you can buy one or two at your local dollar store for a buck. Scrounging in the couch cushions should yield that much!
As for teens, well, if you are pregnant it is time to get over the embarrassment or awkwardness because you are a mommy now. Get to the dollar store and get some help from an adult you trust.
Not necessarily in that order.