It's a major moment in a woman's life: Those minutes that she sits in the bathroom with a test stick, waiting to find out if she's pregnant. A newly available home pregnancy test provides even more information, estimating how far along she is in her pregnancy, TIME.com reports.
The Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator measures a woman's levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a hormone produced early in pregnancy. If a woman is pregnant, the test will tell her, based on her hCG levels, if she is 1–2 weeks, 2–3 weeks, or 3+ weeks along.
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The test is already available for women in Europe, where Clearblue launched it in 2008. The Food and Drug Administration approved the kit for market in December 2012, and starting September 1, the test will have widespread availablity to American women in all major retailers. Clearblue's clinical trials included 2,000 women and 5,000 tested urine samples and determined that hCG measurement was effective and accurate for estimating the time since a woman's last ovulation. The company says the test is 99% accurate at detecting pregnancy from the day of a woman's expected period, and about 93% accurate in estimating the number of weeks.
Obstetricians say the new test may be particularly helpful for women with irregular periods, but there's some disagreement about the accuracy of using hCG to date pregnancy. The doctors also stress that a pregnancy test is no substitute for ultrasound, the best way to determine just how far along a woman is.
Image: Pregnancy test, via Clearblue