No more waiting until you need to do a wee to find out if you’re pregnant. This revolutionary new pregnancy test uses saliva instead

Any products in this article have been selected editorially however if you buy something we mention, we may earn commission

The pregnancy test was invented 50 years ago and since its conception (pun intended), there has been very little advancement in how they look, function and work. In a way, you could argue if it ain’t broke then why fix it? But in this day and age when we're constantly seeking out ways to can make things smaller, faster and more efficient, it does seem bizarre that things haven’t moved on. Until now.

British company Abingdon Health - who specialises in diagnostic and lateral flow tests - has launched the first-ever saliva pregnancy test in the UK. Meet Salistick, £9.99 (for one test) which is available exclusively in 400 Superdrug stores nationwide and online.

This unique test promises the same accuracy as conventional pee-on-a-stick tests, without the hassle of having to drink gallons of water first or the inevitable peeing all over your hands situation. At under a tenner it's also cheaper than the big brand urine pregnancy tests.

How do regular urine pregnancy tests work?

Pregnancy tests work because they can detect whether a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is present in someone’s body.

hCG is produced by the placenta from the moment at which the embryo attaches to the uterus and behaves like a messaging signal to tell the body to stop the menstrual cycle and to prepare for pregnancy and a baby to form. This happens around nine days after fertilisation, which is why tests can detect pregnancy approximately one day after a missed period.

The reason at-home pregnancy tests have always used urine is because once hCG has told the body what it needs to do next it is excreted into the urine, therefore you will find traces of hCG in someone who is pregnant and you wouldn’t find any in someone who is not pregnant.

As for the mechanics of the physical test itself, that works by utilising a clever dye-activated molecule that reacts when in contact with hCG, creating a positive test.

How does a saliva pregnancy test work?

If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s how vital saliva is for diagnosing medical conditions (yes Covid, we’re looking at you). And Abingdon say that saliva is the second most important bodily fluid to do this - blood being the first - meaning that they feel saliva is more ‘valuable’ than urine for testing. 

There is lots of chatter around why urine has historically been used for at-home pregnancy tests - with some people saying it dates back to Egyptian times and women would pee on various objects and if they changed colour that would confirm pregnancy. We're hoping that there is little truth in that, but it may simply be that the science around using saliva to detect hCG wasn’t there until now. A study, only carried out in 2019, showed how reliable saliva is for confirming the presence of hCG , and it was suggested that saliva should be explored as a more convenient method of pregnancy detection. 

As with urine tests, it is recommended to use the saliva pregnancy test one day after a missed period, or two days after the expected day of your period, to ensure hCG levels are adequate.

Chris Yates, the CEO at Abingdon Health plc, says of the Salistick innovation: “This novel technology provides women with an enhanced user-experience; offering the ability to test anywhere, anytime, and for the testing experience to be shared with a partner and other loved ones.” And while taking a urine pregnancy test isn't the worst thing women have to go through in terms of female health, not having to pee on your hand and being able to do a test without having to go off to the bathroom feels like an important step forward.

How do you use Salistick?

  • Saturate the stick. You put the detection stick into your mouth and coat it with saliva.
  • Twist together. Then twist the stick into the other part of the test and wait.
  • Results are in. Similar to urine tests a result can appear within three minutes but they advise to wait up to 15 minutes before checking.

You can buy Salistick at Superdrug now