If the at-home sugar pregnancy test trend has caught your eye, you might be wondering about its success rate. We asked the experts for more.
Medically reviewed by Rachel Gurevich, RN
You may have heard buzz about DIY sugar pregnancy tests on the internet or on social media sites like TikTok. Essentially, a sugar pregnancy test requires you to mix your pee with sugar, and if the mixture clumps together, you are pregnant. Well, according to the interwebs, that is.
The problem is that there is no scientific data to back up these claims. We connected with three OB-GYNs to get the scoop on these tests, including if there’s any way these strategies could ever be accurate, what parents should know in general about DIY pregnancy tests, and the fastest, most accurate ways to confirm a pregnancy.
What Exactly Is the Sugar Pregnancy Test?
The sugar pregnancy test is an at-home strategy that is said to "predict" pregnancy by mixing your urine with sugar. According to Adi Davidov, MD, associate chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwell Staten Island University Hospital, the DIY sugar pregnancy test is not so much a test as it is a tall tale.
“The DIY pregnancy test is a myth that is being promulgated on the internet,” Dr. Davidov says. Although popular on the web, Dr. Davidov says that none of his patients have asked him about this test yet. Sarah Jordan, MD, OB-GYN and medical director at Pediatrix Medical Group in Fort Worth, Texas, also says that DIY sugar pregnancy tests are not something she recommends.
The Science (or Theory) Behind the Sugar Pregnancy Tests
To be clear, there is no scientific evidence that supports these tests, not even a little bit. There is nothing about mixing sugar with urine that could medically indicate a pregnancy.
The theory behind the test is that the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) somehow makes it more difficult for sugar to dissolve, says Heather Levin, MD, OB-GYN and co-director of the Northwell Center for Diabetes in Pregnancy. But, as Dr. Levin points out, “There is no science to support this test.”
Dr. Jordan agrees. “This is not rooted in science and sugar actually does not pick up the human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone,” she explains. “HCG is the pregnancy hormone and what triggers a ‘positive’ test using traditional home and office pregnancy tests.”
How to Perform a Sugar Pregnancy Test at Home
Again, there’s no research to back up the claims that these tests are useful or accurate. So while you can try this at home for fun, you should not use it to verify a pregnancy.
While various methods may vary in the TikTok videos that pop up on your FYP, the general way you perform a sugar pregnancy test at home is as follows:
Use your first morning urine
Then, using a cup, a bowl, or other receptacle, mix equal parts urine and sugar together
Let the mixture sit for a few minutes
Next, note what you see. If the sugar has dissolved into the urine, the test is negative and no pregnancy was "detected." But if the sugar has started to clump together, the test is positive and a pregnancy was "detected" (theoretically of course!)
Are Sugar Pregnancy Tests Accurate?
If you are wondering if sugar pregnancy tests could be accurate, Dr. Davidov has a clear message on the subject. "The simple answer is no!" he says. Dr. Levin shares a similar sentiment, saying, “This may be a fun fad to try, but results are not reliable and should be confirmed with a traditional pregnancy test.”
These tests are not accurate because a sugar cannot pick up hCG, Dr. Jordan emphasizes. “It can't be used with any sort of accuracy,” she says. “If the test is ‘correct,’ it is likely just luck and not based on any accurate science.” People who advocate for this kind of test say that hCG makes it more difficult for sugar to dissolve, but that’s not a scientifically accurate claim, Dr. Jordan explains.
Sugar Pregnancy Tests vs. Traditional Pregnancy Tests
These days, at-home pregnancy tests—even the “cheap” dollar store ones—are considered incredibly accurate when it comes to detecting pregnancy. At-home pregnancy tests measure the level of hCG present in your pee. It’s usually advised that you use the first pee of the morning when using these tests.
HCG is released beginning around six days after your egg has been fertilized, says Dr. Jordan. “Most over-the-counter pregnancy tests can pick up hCG in your urine about 10 days after conception,” she explains. “Most people miss their menstrual cycle 14 days after conception.”
The only other “at home” method that may indicate that you are pregnant is the basal body temperature method. This is where you take your temperature with a special thermometer called a basal body thermometer. Temperature is taken first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed, and you measure your temperature every day of your menstrual cycle.
Basal body temperature rises after ovulation and then drops a few days before your period. If your temperature continues to be elevated a few days after your expected period, it may indicate that you are pregnant. However, medical professionals don’t use this as a way to test for pregnancy, just as a possible sign or symptom. You could still need to take a pregnancy test to confirm your pregnancy.
The bottom line is that if you believe you may be pregnant, you should purchase an at-home pregnancy test and not rely on DIY methods. If you aren’t sure that you are getting an accurate result or aren’t sure how to use a traditional at-home pregnancy test, you should reach out to a health care professional.
A physician can administer a urine test for you, or they may perform a blood test to measure the amount of hCG in your blood. Typically, blood tests are performed if your pregnancy hormones need to be followed because of a medical condition, says Dr. Jordan.
Either way, she recommends you steer clear of sugar pregnancy tests or other similar tests. “Currently DIY pregnancy tests are not recommended as they do not yield accurate results,” Dr. Jordan describes. “If you have any question that you are pregnant, the best option is to see an OB-GYN.”
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