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Feeling like you might vomit thanks to smells that used to be pleasant, fatigue that lands you on the couch at 7 p.m., an insatiable need for those specific burritos from the place across town — these symptoms could indicate that you’re pregnant.
In which case, getting your hands on a pregnancy test is likely priority number one. (Okay, maybe number two. That burrito sounds really good.)
But when it comes to a home pregnancy test, using toothpaste is likely the last thing that pops into your mind. So it may come as a surprise to learn that some women are using DIY toothpaste pregnancy tests to confirm or rule out a pregnancy.
This cheap DIY pregnancy test might be appealing if you don’t want to spend money on an at-home pregnancy test, if you want immediate answers based on what you already have at home, or if you’d prefer not to be spotted purchasing a pregnancy test at your local grocery store. (Who needs a nosy neighbor spreading rumors!)
But while some people trust these DIY tests, should you?
The idea for a DIY toothpaste pregnancy test is simple and fast and doesn’t require much preparation on your part. The only things you need are a tube of toothpaste (some suggest using white paste), a sample of your urine, a container in which to mix the two, and a few minutes of your time.
- Take regular toothpaste — it doesn’t matter the brand — and squeeze a generous amount into an empty cup or container.
- Urinate in a separate cup.
- Slowly pour the urine sample into the cup or container holding the toothpaste.
- Check the pee-paste combo for a reaction.
Those who advocate for this DIY method are convinced that combining urine with toothpaste will cause a chemical reaction — a change in color or a fizz — that can indicate, “You’re pregnant!”
Proponents believe this DIY toothpaste pregnancy test works in the same manner as a regular pregnancy test, which is designed to detect the pregnancy hormone in urine.
This hormone — human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) — is only produced by a woman’s body when she’s pregnant., It’s believed to cause many telltale signs of early pregnancy. These include nausea and vomiting, better known as morning sickness.
But while this DIY pregnancy test is supposed to measure or detect the pregnancy hormone, any reaction that comes from combining toothpaste and urine is most likely due to the acidic nature of urine and not thanks to any hCG in your urine.
What does a positive result look like?
According to those who believe in this DIY pregnancy test, the toothpaste will either change color or fizz if you’re pregnant, supposedly as a response to the pregnancy hormone.
What does a negative result look like?
If you’re not pregnant — meaning your body isn’t producing the pregnancy hormone — the theory is that combining the toothpaste with your urine will not create any type of reaction. The toothpaste will remain the same color and it won’t fizz.
No, a toothpaste pregnancy test isn’t accurate, nor is it a reliable way to confirm a pregnancy.
There also isn’t any evidence out there to suggest that toothpaste can detect the pregnancy hormone in a woman’s urine. Again, any type of fizzing that occurs from mixing toothpaste and urine is likely the toothpaste reacting to the acid in urine.
Urine contains uric acid, which is present in the urine of anyone regardless of whether they’re pregnant or not, or female or male.
Meanwhile, one of toothpaste’s ingredients is commonly calcium carbonate. What’s interesting is that calcium carbonate combined with acid can sometimes cause a foamy reaction.
So if a toothpaste pregnancy test results in fizzing, rather than an indication of pregnancy, it could simply be the toothpaste reacting to the uric acid. The truth is, both men and nonpregnant women could get similar results from these tests.
And if somebody’s pregnancy test doesn’t fizz, this might be due to the person having less acid in their urine.
If you believe that you’re pregnant, there are several ways to accurately test for pregnancy. The sooner you confirm the pregnancy, the better because you’re able to receive prenatal care early, which is essential to a healthy pregnancy.
Home pregnancy tests
A home pregnancy test is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to learn about a pregnancy. You can purchase these tests from any grocery store, drugstore, or even online. They’re designed to detect the pregnancy hormone.
You’ll either urinate on a pregnancy dipstick, or urinate in a cup and then put the dipstick in the urine. You’ll wait a few minutes for the results.
At-home pregnancy tests claim to be about 99 percent accurate. But they can sometimes result in a false positive or a false negative.
A false negative might occur if you take the pregnancy test too early, or if your urine is too diluted. For this reason, you should hold off testing until at least 1 week after a missed period.
Also, it’s more reliable to take a pregnancy test first thing in the morning when your urine is likely to have the highest level of the pregnancy hormone.
Doctor-administered pregnancy test
If a home pregnancy test confirms a pregnancy, make a doctor’s appointment to follow up these test results. You should also make an appointment with your doctor if a home pregnancy test comes back negative at least a week after your missed period, but you believe that you’re pregnant.
Doctors also use a variety of tests to detect the pregnancy hormone, which may include a urine test or a blood test.
A doctor-administered urine test works similar to an at-home pregnancy test. You’ll provide a urine sample, and the sample is sent to a lab to check for the presence of the pregnancy hormone. With a blood test, a sample of your blood will be taken, and it will be sent to a lab to check for the pregnancy hormone.
Free or low-cost pregnancy tests
If you don’t have health insurance or access to a doctor, you may be able to take a free or low-cost pregnancy test at a community health clinic or at your local Planned Parenthood health center.
While some pregnancy tests may cost more because of advanced technology like digital readings, basic tests work by reading the same hormones. You can find inexpensive tests at locations like a dollar store or online retailer.
Although trusting the results of using toothpaste as a DIY homemade pregnancy test is a bad idea, it could be a fun chemistry experiment if you suspect that you or someone else might be pregnant.
Just remember to take the results with a grain of salt. Whether the test results in fizzing or not, always follow up with an at-home pregnancy test and a doctor’s appointment if you suspect pregnancy.