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Pregnancy tests – The historical way

by DrPrem Jagyasi

Modern pregnancy tests have been going more precise with time. These tests also take less time to assess whether a woman is carrying a little life inside her. However, the only option to detect pregnancy before the arrival of new scientific testing devices was to wait and watch. Still, there were methods of having an idea if a woman wanted to have a surprise by detecting her pregnancy a little earlier than when it became obvious. Here, we tell you about a few such historical ways to detect pregnancy.

Wheat and barley test

White flour with golden ears

You would be surprised to know about the ancient  pregnancy test that was started in Egypt. It was one of the first tests for checking the pregnancy. In those times, women used to urinate for some days on wheat and barley seeds. If seeds sprouted, the woman would be pregnant. If not, then she would not be.

Further, the sprouting of wheat was associated with her carrying a girl and the sprouting of barley was linked to her having a boy. Later in 1963, the test was checked for accuracy through some lab experiments. It was found that the test truly worked in almost 70 percent of cases.

Latch test

pregnant lady

According to some medical lore from the 15th century, a woman’s pregnancy could be judged by the latch test. In this test, a woman used to urinate in a basin to which a latch was added afterwards. It had to be left for three to four hours. Then, the urine used to be thrown and the latch’s impression on the basin used to be observed. The presence of an impression verified the pregnancy.

Eye checking

Crazy teenager girl tired trying to open eyes with fingers

In 16th century, a physician named Jacques Guillemeau used to check the eyes of women to tell whether they were pregnant or not. According to him, their eyes change when they are pregnant. Their eyes would have swollen tiny veins in the corner or be deep set. The pupils would become smaller and the lids would be drooping. While it is not a proven fact, it is true that eyes do change when a woman is pregnant.

Onion test

Onion benefits

It was another pregnancy test based on human anatomy from ancient Egyptians.In this test, the woman would insert an onion into her vagina overnight. If her breath on the next day carried the smell of onions, then she would not be pregnant. The basic idea was that a woman’s womb was open and carried the onion smell up to her mouth. However, this would not happen for a pregnant woman with a closed womb.

When there were no pregnancy tests in historic times, there were still methods to detect it. While some ancient people used the urine-based tests on grains or vegetables, physicians relied mostly on eye or urine sample checks.

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