Toothpaste Pregnancy Tests Are a Thing -- but Do They Work?

woman putting toothpaste on toothbrush
iStock.com/TomFreeze

There's no shortage of weird tips and tricks on the Internet for everything from making your kids eat vegetables to getting your newborn to stop crying, but the latest trend in DIY is truly something else. Apparently, women are putting urine in toothpaste based on claims in a viral YouTube video that you can use this "natural" method as an alternative way to tell if you're pregnant.

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The toothpaste pregnancy test works like this: First, you squeeze a small amount of plain white toothpaste into a cup, then you add a few drops of urine, mix it up, and wait three minutes. If the toothpaste starts to froth or turn a bluish color, that means the "test" is positive.

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The video has more than 2 million views and Us Weekly notes it's a mainstay on Google Trends. As the website babyprepping.com explains, the toothpaste pregnancy test came about "decades ago when pregnancy tests weren't easily found in stores, especially for women living in rural settings." Now, they're mostly used as a cheap alternative to store-bought pregnancy tests.

Of course, not everyone is sold. The comments on YouTube range from grateful and enthusiastic to people saying this is total BS to men claiming they tried it and got a positive result (LOL).

So, is the toothpaste pregnancy test legit?

Sort of, says Dr. Napoleon Maminta, a primary care physician at Naptown Priority Health in Indiana. If done correctly, this test may give a woman "reason to believe that she is pregnant," he says. But that positive result is not a guarantee.

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"While over-the-counter tests are difficult to compromise and taint, this homemade option can be easier to compromise if a person fails to take certain precautions," Dr. Maminta tells CafeMom.

If you're just seeing this for the first time and simply have to try it, Dr. Maminta offered some tips to get the best results. First, he says, it's vital to use clean cups so that no contaminants come into contact with the toothpaste. Second, women should use their first morning urine rather than using urine later in the day.

"First morning urine in pregnant women has higher concentrations of the pregnancy hormone hCG, which reacts with the chemicals in the paste to cause a color change," he explains.

Lastly, the toothpaste used must be naturally white and not one that is striped or artificially colored. "The natural white paste has the correct chemical composition to react with the hCG in the urine to cause a change in the paste's color and structure," Dr. Maminta explains. "Paste that is dyed will not react in the right way to give enough of a reading for a woman to know if she could be pregnant."

Even with all the precautions in place, Dr. Maminta still cautions that this should be viewed as an "initial test" and pregnancy should be confirmed via traditional, well-tested methods.

Long story short? Toothpaste pregnancy tests are not the most reliable method of finding out if you're pregnant. But, if you're trying to conceive and looking for some preliminary results before you shell out for another test? It might be worth a shot. As with all things related to pregnancy and our bodies, take the "alternative method" with a grain of salt -- and make sure you see a doctor!

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