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June 25, 2011

The Flawed and the Intuitive: Seven Ancient Methods of Birth Control

Prior to the development of modern contraceptives, how did women of the past prevent pregnancy? As you read further, you’ll see that women have been taking control of their bodies from the earliest of times by using alternate methods of birth control. As knowledge about the reproductive system was often limited, and the cause of pregnancy was unknown in some civilizations, the effectiveness and safety of some methods are definitely imperfect.

    1. Sea Sponges
      The use of physical barriers to block sperm was mainly spread throughout the ancient world. In ancient Jewish communities, the use of sea sponges was a preferred means of contraception. Women would soak sea sponges with acidic substances, usually lemon juice, and insert the sponge vaginally before intercourse. The sponge would be fastened with string for easy removal.
    2. Breast Feeding
      Prolonged breast feeding was encouraged in the past to eliminate the chances of conception. The practice of lactating for contraception is now known as lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). When a woman is breast feeding, the return of her menstrual cycle is delayed. However she eventually will start to ovulate, and thus she is still at risk for pregnancy.
    3. Avoiding moonlight
      In ancient Greece, moonlight was believed to fertilize crops and impregnate women as well. Women were taught to block moonlight when they slept lest they conceive. As we know this method of birth control is highly ineffective since the moon does not influence ovulation nor does it radiate fertilizing power.

true love waits abstinence sign

  1. Coitus Interruptus
    More commonly known as the withdrawal method, the prehistoric use of coitus interruptus was recorded in the Book of Genesis. This method was more effective than others in the ancient times due to the male ejaculating outside of the vagina.
  2. Visiting the Local Cemetery
    It was popular for the ladies of the past to visit their female ancestors in hopes of avoiding pregnancy. The only way that this method could have been effective is if it scared women into practicing abstinence!
  3. Following the Advice of Soranus
    Soranus was a gynecologist in ancient Greece who came up with several unsuccessful methods of birth control. Soranus advised women to jump backwards seven times after intercourse, in hopes of extricating the sperm. He was the original creator of the Rhythm method (a method in which women have intercourse when they are not fertile), however the method was flawed due to his hypothesis that women ovulated during menstruation (rather than prior). Furthermore, Soranus also recommended women to squat and then to squeeze to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy. As the ladies soon found out, these methods were highly ineffective.
  4. Abstinence
    Ultimately the most effective form birth control in history, this method has been effective in the past and also in modern times. In some communities, abstinence was practiced before and during certain religious days (i.e., Lent).

Birth Control Buzz is a service company that provides birth control prices, types of birth control(prescription required), health administrative services, and birth control statistics predominantly to US patients seeking to purchase pharmaceuticals on-line. For more information, call 1-866-868-8850 or visit http://www.birthcontrolbuzz.com/.

July 2, 2009

Top 7 Failed Attempts at Birth Control


The birth control we use today such as birth control pills and condoms did not just come to be as they are today. In fact, there were many ridiculous failed attempts at birth control before they came up with something decent. These contraceptive prototypes may seem moronic now, but at one point people actually believed they worked.

7. Hot Mercury

In ancient China, women drank hot mercury the day after sex in order to prevent pregnancy. Mercury – The poisonous element inside thermometers that is deadly and can cause immediate toxic effects and can destroy all of the human body systems if it gets into the blood stream. Bad idea. You’d be better off committing suicide.

6. Sea Sponge

In Ancient Persia, women used sea sponges soaked in vinegar or alcohol and inserted them into the vagina to inhibit sperm from entering the uterus. This is a horrible method because not only does it require the extraction of a helpful ecological sea-organism from its environment, but it can cause some serious damage to vaginal walls when soaked in a substance like alcohol or vinegar. In addition, a sea sponge will act as a filter, so it’s probably not a good idea to rely on it for contraception.

5. Rocks?

This method is just outrageous. In Egypt, they used to insert rocks into the uterus to irritate the uterine walls preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. (A prototype of todays intrauterine systems) Why is this so outrageous? Because not only does it cause severe irritation to the uterus, but bacteria on the rocks could spread throughout the inside of the uterus causing severe problems and possibly death. Don’t try this at home.

After they realized the serious side effects of the rock method, women tried using apricot seeds in the same way. Needless to say, it was also a failed method.

4. Plugs

No, not hair plugs – vaginal plugs… made of wood. Yes. It is true, there were many women in the 19th century who tried using a plug-shaped stopper made of wood to block sperm from reaching the uterus. It was a tragic fail. There is nothing else to say about this one but nice try – now what do we do about the splinters?

3. Herbs

Many civilizations believed that the right herbs could heal or prevent almost ANYTHING – including pregnancy. Herbs called “emmenagogue” were plants that could stimulate menstruation in females, so they would take these herbs as a form as contraceptive. What they didn’t know is that pregnancy is still possible during menstruation so many of them probably got themselves pregnant with this attempted method.

Although those methods are idiotic and irrational, and we all know that no one would ever try them in modern times, there are still some modern failed birth control attempts out there that couples are trying, only to find themselves with a baby 9 months later.

2. Flushing

There are couples out there who are using things like Lysol and carbonated drinks after sex to “flush out” and kill the sperm in the vagina. There are several reasons why this is a fail. Even if you flush out the sperm in the vagina, it does not affect the sperm that was ejaculated immediately into the uterus through the cervix. Those guys are long gone and out of reach. In addition, putting any acidic or sugary foreign substance in the vagina is a bad idea. The skin and flesh there is very sensitive and will most likely result in infection, irritation, or a yeast infection.

1. Homemade condom

Yes – it is exactly what it sounds like. This is by far the stupidest idea ever thought of. I can’t even process this idea without asking myself “why would anyone in their right mind do such a thing??”. There are many couples out there who are making their own condoms with plastic materials like plastic bags, saran wrap, or used chip bags. Not only are these materials prone to break with enough force, but using them as a condom is unsanitary and uncivilized. Bacteria can spread from these items to the vagina causing discomfort and irritation. They will not hold up during intercourse and probably rip – making them useless as contraception. The chip bag method is the worst idea because of its rough sharp texture that will cut the walls of the vagina causing bleeding. I beg you – please do not do this. The common sense of civilization will quickly diminish if you do.

Birth Control Buzz is a service company that provides birth control prices, types of birth control(prescription required), health administrative services, and birth control statistics predominantly to US patients seeking to purchase pharmaceuticals on-line. For more information, call 1-866-868-8850 or visit https://www.birthcontrolbuzz.com/.

Birth Control Buzz is a service company that provides birth control prices, types of birth control(prescription required), health administrative services, and birth control statistics predominantly to US patients seeking to purchase pharmaceuticals on-line. For more information, call 1-866-868-8850 or visit http://www.birthcontrolbuzz.com/.