Think peeing on a stick is a pain? Pregnancy tests used to be a whole lot worse.
• During the 17th century, a suspected mom-to-be was advised to dip a ribbon in her urine and then burn it. Supposedly, if the smell nauseated her, she could be certain she was with child.
• In 1350 B.C., a potential mother-to-be could determine pregnancy by urinating on barley and wheat seeds. No growth meant no baby, while barley buds indicated a baby boy and sprouting wheat signaled a little lady on the way. As crazy as it sounds, there was likely some validity to this ancient practice. A 1963 study found that a pregnant woman’s urine did promote growth (thanks to its elevated estrogen levels) around 70 percent of the time. The gender guesses, though, were most likely nothing more than that—guesses.
• The first home pregnancy test was invented in 1978. However, the test was tricky (it involved a test tube and sheep’s red blood cells, among other things) and could take up to two hours to determine results.