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If you’re like some women, you might have a sense that you’re pregnant long before you take a pregnancy test. A missed period is the major giveaway. But you might also suspect a pregnancy if you have food cravings, sore breasts, and of course, morning sickness.
An at-home pregnancy test is how most women confirm an early suspicion of pregnancy. But according to some, a drugstore test isn’t the only way. Some women get creative and create their own do-it-yourself home pregnancy tests. Here's why it's not a great idea to use a DIY bleach pregnancy test.
Using bleach to detect a pregnancy might seem a bit farfetched. So much so that you might take any suggestions of using bleach as nothing more than a joke.
But in actuality, some women believe that bleach is a reliable way to confirm or rule out a pregnancy.
A DIY bleach pregnancy test is simple to perform, as you’ll only need two cups, household bleach, and a sample of your urine.
To conduct the test:
- pour bleach (no specific amount) in one cup
- urinate in the other cup
- slowly pour your urine into the bleach cup
- wait a few minutes and view the results
Some recommendations include using regular bleach rather than a color or scented bleach since the latter options could alter how the bleach reacts with urine.
Depending on how the bleach reacts to the urine can supposedly provide some indication as to whether you’re pregnant.
Similar to an actual home pregnancy test, proponents of this method believe that bleach can detect human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), the pregnancy hormone found in urine. This is a hormone the body only produces during pregnancy, and it is detectable in the blood and urine of a woman during their first trimester.
Home pregnancy tests are designed to detect this hormone within a few weeks of conception. According to those who advocate for this DIY test, bleach can do the same, but there is no scientific evidence to support this claim.
What does a positive result look like?
For those who believe in the accuracy of a DIY bleach pregnancy test, combining bleach with urine causes a foamy or frothy reaction when a woman is pregnant.
What does a negative result look like?
On the other hand, if bleach combined with urine doesn’t cause a reaction and the bleach doesn’t become foamy, the idea is that you’re not pregnant.
While a DIY homemade bleach pregnancy test might be intriguing, these tests are by no means accurate. To be abundantly clear, there have been no studies conducted on the reliability of bleach in detecting pregnancy.
This DIY test is unreliable because bleach isn’t designed to detect the pregnancy hormone. Besides, who’s to say that urine mixed with bleach for a certain amount of time won’t become foamy as a natural reaction? Or that shaking or stirring the mixture won’t produce foam?
The bottom line is that there’s a lot of room for error with a bleach pregnancy test, in which case both men and nonpregnant women could get the same results. Positive or negative results from this test can't be trusted as accurate.
Even if you’re only considering a bleach pregnancy test for fun, keep in mind there are certain risks associated with this type of DIY pregnancy test.
Remember, you’re playing around with bleach. Yes, it is a common household cleaner, but it’s also a powerful chemical. And if you’ve ever cleaned your home with bleach, you know firsthand how it can affect breathing when inhaled.
There don’t appear to be any studies on the effects of bleach on pregnant women. But given the powerful nature of bleach, overexposure could potentially cause harm to a baby.
In fact, exposure to some chemicals during pregnancy (like solvents) have been linked with birth defects and miscarriages. In addition to possibly causing problems during your pregnancy, bleach can also cause irritation to your nose, lungs, or throat, particularly if you use bleach in an area with poor ventilation, such as your bathroom.
There’s also the risk of bleach splashing as you conduct the pregnancy test. If so, it could cause a chemical burn or irritation when it comes in contact with your skin.
But the biggest risk of a bleach pregnancy test by far is the likelihood of a false positive or a false negative.
For those who believe in the accuracy of this test, a false negative when you’re actually pregnant could result in delaying prenatal care. A false positive could cause emotional distress once you discover that you’re not actually pregnant, especially if you were excited over the idea of having a baby.
If you believe that you might be pregnant, the best way to know is with either a home pregnancy test or a test administered through a doctor.
Home pregnancy tests are simple to use and usually provide results within a few minutes. Most tests involve urinating on a dipstick, or urinating in a cup and then putting the dipstick in your urine.
Test results might have one or two lines, a plus or minus sign, or a reading to indicate “pregnant” or “not pregnant.” No matter how the results appear, all these tests operate the same way.
These tests look specifically for the pregnancy hormone, hCG, and in most cases, a home pregnancy test is about 99 percent accurate. You can purchase a home pregnancy test from a grocery store, drugstore, or online.
At-home pregnancy tests are a less expensive option since you don’t have to make a doctor appointment or pay a co-pay. Depending on where you live, your local health department might offer free or low-cost doctor administered pregnancy tests, or you can see your regular doctor.
Doctor-administered pregnancy tests work similar to at-home tests. You can provide a urine sample which looks for the pregnancy hormone. Or, you can get your blood drawn and sent to the lab, which also detects the pregnancy hormone.
DIY homemade bleach pregnancy tests are low cost and easy to perform. But these tests are by no means accurate, as they’re not intended to detect the pregnancy hormone. Plus, they pose dangers to your health and safety.
So if you think you might be pregnant, it's best to test using proven methods and to contact your doctor to confirm the pregnancy and start prenatal care. Prenatal care is essential when you’re pregnant to keep you and your baby healthy.