A woman’s reproductive health has always been concern from time immemorial, and today we ran into a story of how women in ancient Egypt used to know if they’re pregnant or not, to start prepping up. The woman would urinate in two different bags; one filled with wheat, and the other with barley.
Apparently, some 3,500 years ago – before modern medicine – women in Egypt were about as concerned about whether or not they had become pregnant as modern women are these days. Though modern medicine practitioners would laugh and dismiss some of the ancient practices for determining pregnancy status, this one by ancient Egypt would make them think twice.
According to recently released medical texts from ancient Egypt (from the Papyrus Carlsberg Collection) at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The ancient Egyptian women used grains for pregnancy tests; wheat and barley to be precise.
There is this one papyrus text that seems to have been written in 1400 B.C.E that has writings about how women would urinate in two different bags, one filled with wheat and the other with barley. If the grain in both bags would sprout, then the pregnancy test would be positive for pregnancy.
The two bags would go further than just testing telling the women whether they’re pregnant or not. They would also determine the sex of the fetus. The woman would have to see which of the grains sprouted first. If it was the barley, then the baby would be a boy, it wheat the baby would be a girl.
Researchers at the National Institute of Health conducted a study of the ancient Egyptian way of determining pregnancy. They found that it was accurate 70% of the time. However, it was not accurate when it came to determining the sex of the baby.