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Emergency Medical Minute


Oct 10, 2019

Contributor: Chris Holmes, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • In ancient Egypt, pregnant women would urinate over barley and wheat seeds to help determine the sex of thier fetus, as well as if they were pregnant. Amazingly, this has 70% accuracy (!!) for determining pregnancy (not sex).
  • Piss Prophets in the middle ages would examine urine for changes in color to determine if a woman was pregnant or not. 
  • In the early 1900’s, after discovering progesterone, and it’s associated with pregnancy, the A-Z pregnancy urine test was created. Urine was collected from the woman of interest and injected into an immature rat or rabbit. If the urine put the animal into heat (due to the presence of progesterone in the urine), this was interpreted as a positive test. 


Summarized by Will Dewispelaere, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

Music credit: “Smooth Lovin” by Kevin MacLoed ( Licensed under Creative Commons By Attribution 3.0 License.