History of Contraceptives


Much to my surprise while researching the history of contraceptives I discovered that the first known form of birth control was the condom back in 3000 B.C. ancient Egyptian drawings show pictures of men wearing condoms. To this day Egypt is known for inventing the male condom.

The Egyptians

Next, we have the first form of female birth control again the Egyptians are given credit for the contraceptive known as the pessaries. Pessaries were made of sodium carbonate, crocodile dung and honey. The pessaries were made into a “concoction” and placed inside the vagina to kill the sperm.

Moving ahead to the more recent history of contraceptives in 1844 the Goodyear man (yes the one who invented tires); Charles Goodyear is also given credit for the invention of reusable male condoms. The condoms were made of rubber. Once the condom was used, it was washed anointed with petroleum jelly and stored in a special wooden box until next time.

It is hard to believe when looking at the history of contraceptives that the first birth control pill is only fifty years old and at the time there was only one type available - Enovid. Enovid was not on the market long it was found to have ten times the amount of hormones needed to prevent pregnancy and thousands of women experienced awful side effects and death.

1983: The Birth Control Pill becomes widely available

It was not until 1983 a mere 28 years ago that the birth control pills we use today became available to the millions of women and men who depend on them to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

In 1992, the Depo Provera shot was approved by the FDA giving women another option for birth control. In 1998, the first emergency contraceptive commonly known as “Plan B” became available. Between 2000 and 2002 women were introduced to the IUD, NuvaRing, the patch, and Lunelle the once a month hormone birth control shot.

The history of contraceptives is an interesting one to say the least. I think we should thank the men and women who invented more safe, sterile and effective methods of birth control and perhaps even thank our lucky stars we were not around to experience the “concoctions” or reusable condoms!


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