June 13, 2013 10:38 am
The at-home pregnancy test revolutionized the experience of pregnancy for women when it first debuted in 1978. Called the Early Pregnancy Test, or e.p.t., the first do-it-yourself kit cost $10 and took two hours to process results. The NIH writes:
Taking the test at home, noted a 1979 article in Family Planning Perspectives, both protected the privacy of a woman who might not want her doctor to know she is sexually active and gave women a new opportunity to take an active role in their own health care.
Now, an equivalent test is in the works for women who want to find out whether or not their already-confirmed pregnancy has ended. The Guardian reports:
Current tests for the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) can tell women if they may be pregnant before they have even missed a period, although they cannot confirm whether or not the hormone is falling or rising.
But the new tests developed in the US can do so, meaning it is possible to state whether a pregnancy is continuing or ending. For women who have ended pregnancies using the abortion pill, the semi-quantitative pregnancy test enables them to ascertain at home whether their pregnancy has ended, by showing that hCG levels are falling.
The test could benefit women in all different kinds of situations. It could reassure women in the early stages of pregnancy that all is well, or alternatively confirm for women who have had an abortion or a miscarriage that their hormones are dropping back to normal with no further complications.
The new test is not commercially available yet, but the Guardian writes that researchers presenting at the Royal Society of Medicine conference in London reported that the tests may be available soon.
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