Updated 07 April 2015

Would you believe how far people have gone to prevent pregnancy?

From using carbonated drinks for vaginal douching to inserting wooden blocks into the vagina as a barrier, people from long ago had very interesting (and sometimes life-threatening) methods of contraception.


When it comes to contraception, women increasingly want to be fully informed and in control of their fertility, and scientists continue to look for options that are safe, effective and have minimal side effects. Medical researchers are also continually working on new contraceptive options – but have you ever wondered what women did to prevent pregnancy in the Middle Ages?

If you thought that slipping on a condom in the heat of the moment, or taking a birth control pill at the same time every day, to prevent pregnancy was an effort, you might think again after you see what the folk from the olden days resorted to for contraception.

This infographic from shows us some of the strangest attempts at birth control throughout history:

Read more:

The latest contraceptive options for women

SA teens urged to find out about contraception

Contraception for your teenage daughter


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Mental health & your work »

How open are you about mental illness in the workplace?

Mental health in the workplace – what you can do to help

If you know that one of your colleagues suffers from a mental illness, would you be able to help them at work? Maligay Govender offers some helpful mental health "first aid" tips.

Sleep & You »

Sleep vs. no sleep Diagnosis of insomnia

6 things that are sabotaging your sleep

Kick these shut-eye killers to the kerb and make your whole life better – overnight.