The personal website of Chris Coyier

The Rabbit Test

While taking classes at Well Rounded to prepare us for the birth of our first child, I learned a weird little historical fact about pregnancy tests.

The Rabbit Test:

The original test used mice and was based upon the observation that when urine from a woman in the early months of pregnancy is injected into immature female mice, the ovaries of the mice enlarge and show follicular maturation. The test was considered reliable, with an error rate of less than 2%. The rabbit test consisted of injecting the tested woman’s urine into a female rabbit, and a few days later examining the rabbit’s ovaries, which would change in response to a hormone secreted only by pregnant women.

That’s something.

For the record, that was just a tiny little aside that randomly came up in class, although we have been talking about the history of pregnancy and birthing, which is pretty fascinating in how much it has changed through time. It makes me think that in 20-30 years we’ll look back on now with a grimace as much as we look back at 20-30 years and grimace now.