Orginal Publication Date
MCV/Q, Medical College of Virginia Quarterly
The World Health Organization reported that 40% of the pregnancies in the world in 1977 were unplanned and 20% were unwanted; in the United States in 1978 there were 1,300,000 teenage pregnancies, of which one million ended in abortions. To prevent these unwanted pregnancies and also to abolish the cost in terms of money, time and lives, conception control is very important. Contraception is as old as the human race. In ancient times Chinese women swallowed live tadpoles three days after their menses for this purpose. North African women mixed gunpowder solution and foam from a camel’s mouth and drank the resulting potion. Egyptian women inserted pessaries made of crocodile dung to achieve contraception. Greek women in the second century made a vaginal plug that contained oil, honey, cedar gum and fig pulp; others ate the uterus of female mules. As recently as the 17th century, European brides were instructed to sit on their fingers while riding in coaches or to place roasted walnuts in their bosoms, one for every barren year desired. Obviously, an unwanted child was of as much concern to the ancients as it is to modern women.
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VCU University Archives