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People Are Using Toothpaste as a DIY Pregnancy Test

Photograph by Twenty20

Pregnancy test ideas are going down the tube, literally. A new DIY trend this year claims mixing toothpaste with urine can indicate whether or not a woman is expecting.

According to some parenting sites and videos, this cheap and fast option "was often used decades ago when pregnancy tests weren’t easily found in stores, especially for women living in rural settings." We couldn't find any proof of this, but we're not too surprised about the statement as there have been stranger tests through history, like peeing on a bag of grain to determine baby's gender or injecting urine into small female animal to see how they react.

The instructions to the toothpaste pregnancy test are usually pretty vague. All you have to do is squeeze a moderate amount of plain toothpaste on a plate or cup and add a few drops of your urine on it. Then mix it all up for a bit and wait for about three minutes. Apparently, if nothing changes, the test is negative. But if the toothpaste turns frothy and maybe even bluish, the test is positive.

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The test has garnered more interest than one might think. Google Trends shows a recent spike on the search term "toothpaste pregnancy test" and a YouTube tutorial posted late last year currently has almost 2 million views.

But of course, not everyone is taking the trend seriously.

A Quora answer has gone viral after a user named Jo Berah posted these cheeky instructions for "How can I make a home pregnancy test with toothpaste?"

1. Open the toothpaste.

2. Draw nine dots on the bathroom mirror with the toothpaste.

3. After each month, wipe one of the dots away.

4. When there are no more dots left on the mirror, look around the room.

5. If there is a baby there, congratulations, the test is positive. If there isn't, try again next time.

In all seriousness, health experts warn the trend hasn't been scientifically tested and can be highly inaccurate. During pregnancy, women's bodies produce human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), which home-use tests are created to detect. According to the FDA, women who have a 28 day menstrual cycle can detect hCG in their urine 12 to 15 days after ovulation.

"A home pregnancy test has reagents in it that react with HCG," Janet Caruana, a clinical laboratory science and biology expert at Long Island University told The Sun. "Toothpaste is for teeth. No matter how wonderful your toothpaste is, it's for your teeth. It's not meant to detect pregnancy hormones."

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There's a wide range of home pregnancy tests available, from strips under $1 to apps that can go for $22. While these options are about 97 percent accurate, false negatives and positives can occur. If you are uncertain, repeat the test a few days later or make an appointment with your doctor, who can perform further tests to verify.

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