Here’s the deal—when ladies get fertilized, they start making some extra hormones. One hormone in particular, human chorionic gonadotropin, a.k.a. hCG, is an accurate predictor of whether or not there's a bun in the oven. hCG levels in a woman's urine increase drastically during the first few weeks of a pregnancy and decrease after about 11 weeks. If an at-home test can measure the rate of increase or decrease in a woman's hCG levels, then you have a recipe for knowing exactly how pregnant you really are. (Remember half-lives from 10th grade chemistry class? It works kind of like that.)
The pregnancy test brand Clearblue has introduced a pee stick that implements this nifty trick of science in a "weeks estimator," a second strip addition to the standard at-home kit.
Market research at Proctor & Gamble, the parent company of Clearblue, found that "78% of women in our research study feel that knowing how far along you are at the beginning of pregnancy is very important."
It’s not surprising to me that women want more information about their bodies during pregnancy, especially because OB/GYNs are so damn expensive and nobody has health insurance these days. If it's possible to get more information about your body from an at-home kit, why wouldn't you go for it?
Doctors estimate the duration of a pregnancy based on the date of your last period - which I feel like most women don't track with 100% accuracy - and an ultrasound. Though this kit is obviously not 100% accurate - every woman's body is different, hormones fluctuate, blah blah blah - it's helpful for women with a flakey Aunt Flo, or those who can't afford a doctor's visit until absolutely necessary, or those who live in a state where the option of abortion has an expiration date.
So while this Clearblue test can't replace ultrasound diagnosis, it has an important feature that offers women more information about their bodies - and when it comes to women's health, there's no information like more information.
Thanks to Time
Photographs via Time and Clearblue