How was birth control invented and when?

The first condom on record was made from a goat bladder by ancient Romans.

But it wasn’t the first form of birth control. For at least 8,000 years, folks used coitus interruptus as a widespread and moderately effective form of birth control. It’s mentioned in both the Talmud and the Book of Genesis as a way to prevent pregnancy.

But that’s a tame and relatively benign form of birth control compared to other early attempts. For example, people used barriers that often contained acidity compounds as a spermicide.

This included slices of lemon, mixtures of lint and acacia tree powder, dried crocodile dung, figs, beeswax, and mustard seed. Antiquated oral contraceptives were pretty dangerous.

Although most people opted for mixtures of herbs and roots, some ingested such substances as gunpowder, quicksilver, arsenic, and even camel spit in the belief that they would prevent pregnancy. Thank heaven for modern medicine.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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