Pregnancy test tells how pregnant you are

By Kelsey Meany • Published: November 19th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

We’ve come a long way from the one-line-two-line pregnancy tests of the past. Today, many tests even manage to come up with the words “pregnant” or “not pregnant.” But now, in one of the biggest advances since 2003, pregnancy tests can tell a woman exactly how pregnant she is.

The Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator, which has been available in Europe since 2008, uses hormone testing to see if a woman is pregnant and just how pregnant she is. Levels of the hormone hCG and the time since last ovulation affect the output on the test’s screen, which shows if a woman is one to two, two to three, or three or more weeks pregnant.

In December 2012 the FDA approved the test after clinical trials tested 5,000 urine samples of 2,000 women. The revolutionary test hit shelves of major retailers in September.

Doctors caution that this new test is not meant to be used as a substitute for the services of a physician. Ultrasound imaging remains the “gold standard” of pregnancy dating.

But pregnancy tests are still important, and experts say some women are even sentimental about them, as their first glimpses into parenthood.

According to research, one of the earliest records of urine-based pregnancy tests can be found in an ancient Egypt. A test was described where women would urinate on wheat and barley seeds over the course of several days. If barley grew, it meant it was a male child … if the wheat grew, it meant it was a girl.

Although that sounds like an interesting idea, most modern women are likely thankful they can use modern pregnancy tests. After all, who wants to predict their future children with some of the same ingredients that go into that Thanksgiving bundt cake?