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​How Do Home Pregnancy Tests Work?

Posted by Blooms The Chemist on 14 Oct 2021

​How Do Home Pregnancy Tests Work?


While it has been known for thousands of years that urine-based tests could offer clues as to whether a woman was pregnant, the discovery and ability to test hormones associated with pregnancy is more recent.

One of the earliest records of methods to test for pregnancy dates back to ancient Egypt, where women would urinate on barley or wheat seeds and if the seeds sprouted quicky in subsequent days it was believed to indicate pregnancy. It sounds unbelievable, however there are modern studies that report this method worked 70-85% of the time [1].

Like many things in the Information Age, the speed to find an answer or run a test has greatly increased thanks to new innovations. Woman can now use highly accurate pregnancy tests and have results in minutes, from the comfort of their home.

The method of testing that allows for these quick results is called lateral flow. A lateral flow test works by collecting a sample of fluid (urine in the case of pregnancy testing), which interacts with a strip of porous material designed to confirm if a specific marker is present of absent.

In pregnancy tests, the ‘reaction zone’ is coated with anti-bodies that react to hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) [2], which is a hormone present around 6 days after fertilisation [3]. If hCG is not detected, a negative result is indicated.

Visit your GP to discuss preconception care, reproductive and sexual health, including contraceptive options. Your local trusted Pharmacist can also provide information on areas of reproductive care, including management of chronic diseases prior to conception, supporting health behaviours during pregnancy, and information on medication safety and interactions.

Shop our range of home pregnancy tests online or visit your local Blooms The Chemist for more information.


[1] https://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/pee-pregnant-history-science-urine-based-pregnancy-tests/

[2] https://www.aacc.org/cln/cln-industry-insights/2020/pregnancy-testing-through-the-ages

[3] https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/trying-for-a-baby/doing-a-pregnancy-test/