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Birth Control Overview

Birth Control Introduction

The practice of birth control or preventing pregnancy is as old as human existence. For centuries, humans have attempted to avoid pregnancy.

  • Egyptian ancient writings dating back to 1850 BC refer to techniques using a device placed in a woman’s vagina made of crocodile dung and fermented dough, which most likely created a hostile environment for sperm. Other items placed in the vagina included plugs of gum, honey, and acacia.
  • During the early second century in Rome, a highly acidic concoction of fruits, nuts, and wool was placed on the cervix as a type of spermicidal barrier.

For the individual woman, the ability to effectively control when and whether she becomes pregnant affects her ability to achieve her own goals and contribute to her sense of well-being. A woman’s choice of birth control method involves factors such as how easy it is to use, safety, risks, cost, and personal considerations.

This overview discusses the main methods of contraception (birth control) used in the United States and their advantages and disadvantages.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/18/2014
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