Birth prevention before the era of modern contraception
Population and Societies
n° 418, December 2005
Only in the last two centuries have human beings started to practice effective family limitation. Methods of contraception and abortion have existed for much longer, but were not a part of everyday life. Etienne van de Walle examines those mentioned in three texts dating from different periods – a classical medical treatise, a libertine French document of the eighteenth century and a nineteenth century American marriage guide – to shed light on past methods and practices.