For a moment, imagine that you are a 1920s woman. You can think of the amazing flapper fashions to distract from the more serious issues facing women’s rights. It’s possible that you are pregnant but you aren’t sure. What can you do?
You might want to try a DIY test that has made its way into folklore.
The Food and Drug Administration didn’t approve the home pregnancy tests that are now so popular — which can be found at drugstores and have been shown to detect pregnancy with some accuracy — until 1976.
In “olden times,” women had to wait for telltale signs such as a late period or morning sickness, fatigue and an expanding stomach to determine if they were pregnant.
However, rumors of DIY or homemade pregnancy tests that can determine if you are pregnant still circulate in 21st-century. One of the most popular ones involves common table salt, small bowls and, yes, your bladder contents.
What is the reliability of this salty test? (Spoiler Alert: Don’t let your hopes get too high. Let’s get started.
How to perform the test
According a variety of sources, none of which are scientifically credible, you will need the following information to perform the salt pregnancy test:
- One small, clean, non-porous cup or bowl to collect your urine
- A small, non-porous, and clean bowl or cup to hold your salt-pee mixture
- A couple of teaspoonfuls of table salt
It is a good idea to use a glass bowl or cup to mix your ingredients. This will allow you to see the final results clearly.
Most sites don’t specify the type of salt beyond what is “common”. We assume that varieties such as kosher salt and the fancy pink Himalayan salt are not allowed.
How do you test
- Place a few spoonfuls of salt into a clear cup or bowl.
- Next, place a small amount first-morning urine into the other container.
- Put your salt over the pee.
This is where the confusion increases. Some sources suggest waiting for a few minutes while others recommend waiting for a few hours. Some people leave the mixture alone for as long as 8 hours, according to popular TTC (trying conceive) message boards.
How do I read the results
You can find any TTC discussion online about the salt pregnancy test and see many pictures of salty pee. There are also questions like “Is it positive?”. This is because no one seems certain what they’re looking at or how to tell a positive from negative.
Here’s the folklore:
How does a negative look like
It is possible that the test will fail if it does not happen. You have a cup full of salt(it).
How a positive looks like
According to different sources, a positive pregnancy test for salt will appear milky or cheesey. Salt reacts with human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), which is a hormone found in the urine and blood span of pregnant women.
Did you know?
Home pregnancy test strips pick up hCG. However, your body will not produce it immediately after conception. It can take several weeks for the fertilized egg to reach your uterus.
This is why you are more likely to have your urine tested on the day of your missed period than any claims of early results.
If you believe you are pregnant, but get a negative result (“BFN”) on TTC forums, wait a few days before testing again.
How accurate are the salt pregnancy tests?
Salt pregnancy tests are best performed as an experiment that is all-in-good-fun. It does not have any medical backing, scientific foundation, or physician endorsement. There is no evidence that salt interacts with hCG. This idea and the test are not supported by any published studies.
It’s possible to get an “accurate”, because it’s bound match reality at some point, according to the laws and probabilities.
It was difficult to find anyone who believed they had a positive test for salt and then found out that they were pregnant. This doesn’t necessarily mean that this scenario isn’t possible, but it does speak volumes about the reliability of the test.
The test was taken by one of our Healthline editors and her husband. They found it difficult to interpret the results, as did many others.
The test was not negative because of some untoward event. However, the mixture didn’t taste “cheesy”, or “milky”. Both of them noticed that the mixture became more transparent at the bottom, and then developed a cloudy, salt-glob-ish appearance at its top. This is our best guess.
You can rest assured that neither our editor nor her husband are pregnant.
You can take a home pregnancy test if you suspect you might be pregnant. You can test salt if you want to, but it is best to use a proven method.