Recent History of Birth Control
Some of us may think that birth control is a relatively new concept, something that came along with the women's liberation movement in the 1960s. In fact, it does have some association with the movement. However, that association dates back to the end of the 1800s and into the early 1900s.
The phrase "birth control" was first used around 1914 and was made popular by Margaret Sanger, an American woman who advocated for women's rights in the arena of birth control. In England, Marie Stopes opened Britain's first birth control clinic in 1921 and, under the banner of scientific terms, she made contraception acceptable in Britain and some of the British Colonies.
Birth Control in Ancient Times
But, history shows us that the ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians and Romans used birth control and infanticide as means of dealing with unwanted pregnancies. Birth control methods that included pessaries made from acacia gum, a natural spermicidal that is still used today in contraceptive jellies; covering the mouth of the womb with an application of a gummy substance (honey and sodium carbonate); and placing a pessary made from crocodile dung into the vagina, were all popular methods of contraception centuries ago.
Methods of Contraception Today
Today, birth control is available in a wide array of methods. Many can be used alone or in conjunction with other methods to make doubly sure contraception is effective. In this section, we will discover some of these methods and discuss how they work and how effective they are.
Natural Methods of Birth Control
Natural methods of birth control, called fertility awareness, can be practiced to avoid pregnancy. No drugs or devices are necessary. There are four common methods of natural birth control that include the basal temperature method, the Billings method (monitoring cervical mucus), the Rhythm method (made popular by the Catholic Church), and the Sympto-termal method which combines basal temperature and cervical mucus monitoring.
Barrier and Hormonal Birth Control
Barrier Methods of birth control involve using a device of some sort to prevent the flow of semen into the uterus. Cervical Caps, condoms (both male and female), diaphragms, sponges and spermicidals are part of this group. We'll discuss these methods and their effectiveness in this article as well.
Of course, the hormonal method of birth control - birth control pills, morning after pills, and injections are more popular as effective methods of birth control today. This section will explore the effects of pills and injections as well as efficacy.
IUDs and The Mirena Intrauterine Device
IUDs (intrauterine devices), including the Mirena IUD, are yet another alternative birth control method that is frequently used. As with all types of unnatural birth control, there are associated risks and concerns. Again, in this section we'll take a look at IUDs, how they work and what the risks are for women using them.