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kottke.org posts about Lindsay Holiday

A History of Birth Control

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 27, 2022

From Lindsay Holiday, an engaging history of birth control, covering the ineffective and often dangerous methods used in the ancient world, the rhythm method, proto-condoms, actual condoms, Lysol (!!), and of course one of the modern world’s most impactful inventions, the hormonal birth control pill.

Through most of history pregnancy and childbirth were a very dangerous undertaking for women. In medieval Europe 1 in 3 women died in their child-bearing years and 1 in 4 children did not live to see their first birthday. Even when both mother and child survived the ordeal of birth women were not always able to provide for a child. And in most cultures pregnancy outside of wedlock was considered a great sin and often resulted in the shunning of the woman and child while the man often got away scot-free. It is no surprise therefore that women throughout history have been trying a wide variety of methods to prevent conception.

(via open culture)