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Pregnancy tests have evolved quite a bit over the years. Not all that long ago, a live African clawed frog represented quite a revolutionary pregnancy-testing method. Sounds crazy, right?

You can read all about it in the brief history of the pregnancy test. Yes, frogs and killed lab mice and rabbits were indeed used to determine whether a woman was pregnant, shortly after the discovery of human chorionic gonadotropin. Thankfully, that's in the past now. Quite a few of us remember and have used little test strips that you had to dip in a little bottle of morning urine . Those tests are still around, but more modern pregnancy tests can be used at any time of the day and are a bit less messy. The digital "pregnant" or "not pregnant" messages also eliminate all that "is-this-really-a-line?" panic that came with tests that just showed lines. This offers a distinct advantage. If you want something even more advanced, that now exists. It's called the Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test, and its concept is pretty awesome.

Thanks to Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr Creative Commons.

What is the Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test?

Clearblue, the manufacturer of the Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator, proudly refers to the test as "the latest innovation in pregnancy testing". They explain that this pregnancy test is, like all other over-the-counter pregnancy tests, a test that works by detecting hCG in the tester's urine. Again like other OTC pregnancy tests, the test is said to be more than 99 percent effective when used from the day of your missed period.

The unique feature of the Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test is that it also estimates how advanced the pregnancy is. The test indicates whether it has been 1-2 weeks since ovulation, 2-3 weeks, or more than 3 weeks. Clearblue additionally says that the test can give accurate results up to four days before the date of the expected period, in which case it is significantly less accurate but still interesting if you really want to know whether you might be pregnant.

Why would you use this test?

Women who are actively trying to conceive are bound to use ovulation predictor kits or other methods that track their fertile windows. Those who have regular menstrual cycles will be familiar with their cycle length, the day on which their periods are expected, and all that other good stuff. They may choose the Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test because they would like to have an early result (so before their periods are due). Then again, other sensitive pregnancy tests can accomplish the same thing. The Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator is, I think, primarily for women who have irregular cycles and those who weren't trying to conceive and aren't tracking their cycles at all.

So if you were not trying to get pregnant, suddenly get pregnancy symptoms, and think you may be expecting, the Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test could give you some insight into your approximate gestational length. Clearblue does warn consumers that the "'Weeks Estimator' is meant solely as an estimate for the consumer and is not intended as a substitute for a doctor's clinical diagnosis." They add: "The Weeks Estimator is not intended for multiple pregnancies. The estimate provided by the device may be inaccurate in these cases." In other words, the estimator is really no more than an estimator. Your doctor, with their ultrasound machine, is still the best source for information on how long you are pregnant.

Yikes

CBS Los Angeles reports that the Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test has been causing some controversy. Women get results from the test that differ from what their OBGYN tells them about their gestational length, something that leaves them worried about their pregnancy and their unborn baby's health. Consumers are scared they'll have a miscarriage if the test says their gestational length is shorter than it is, the report additionally mentions. All we can do here is quote Clearblue.

The Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test is the latest innovation in pregnancy testing. It is meant as an estimate for the consumer. It is NOT intended as a substitute for clinical diagnosis. In other words, the Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test is a bit of fun for modern women who would like an estimate. It was never meant to be an over-the-counter freak-out machine. If the test gives the wrong estimate, chances are that the test is wrong and that you're not having a miscarriage. Those who tend towards worrying should probably stay away from this test. Otherwise, enjoy this curious bit of technology but trust your OBGYN's judgment.

  • Thanks to Internet Archive Book Images/Flickr Creative Commons.
  • Photo courtesy of 123rf (stock photos)

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