A long, long time before women peed on sticks, they peed on plenty of other things.
One of the oldest descriptions of a pregnancy test comes from ancient Egypt, where women who suspected they were pregnant would urinate on wheat and barley seeds: If the wheat grew, they believed, it meant the woman was having a girl; the barley, a boy; if neither plant sprouted, she wasn’t pregnant at all. Avicenna, a 10th-century Persian philosopher, would pour sulfur over women’s urine, believing that the telltale sign was worms springing from the resulting mixture. In 16th-century Europe, specialists known as “piss prophets” would read urine like tea leaves, claiming to know by its appearance alone whether the woman who supplied it was pregnant.
Piss Prophets—that was the name of my band in high school.