How Was Pregnancy Prevented in Ancient Times?

Pregnancy prevention has been a concern for humans since ancient times. While modern contraception methods such as pills, condoms, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) have made it easier for women to control their fertility, people in ancient times relied on various methods to prevent pregnancy. Let’s take a look at some of the ways ancient people prevented pregnancy.


Abstinence is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy. In ancient times, many cultures promoted abstinence before marriage as a way to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Some religions also encouraged celibacy among their followers.


Herbs were widely used for birth control in ancient times. Women in different parts of the world used different herbs for this purpose.

For example, women in ancient Egypt used acacia leaves as a contraceptive. Similarly, women in China used mercury, lead, and arsenic compounds to prevent pregnancy.


The use of condoms for birth control dates back to ancient Egypt. Condoms made of animal bladders or intestines were used by men to prevent pregnancy during intercourse.

Withdrawal method:

The withdrawal method involves withdrawing the penis from the vagina before ejaculation. This method was known and practiced in ancient Greece and Rome.


Pessaries are devices inserted into the vagina to block sperm from reaching the uterus. Ancient Greeks and Romans made pessaries out of materials like wool soaked in vinegar or honey.

Amulets and Charms:

In some cultures, amulets and charms were worn or carried as a form of birth control. For example, women in ancient Greece wore amulets made of olive leaves around their waists to prevent pregnancy.

The Bottom Line

While these methods may seem primitive by today’s standards, they were the only options available in ancient times. It’s important to remember that many of these methods were not entirely effective and could have serious health consequences. Today, we have access to a variety of safe and effective contraception methods that can help us plan our families and prevent unwanted pregnancies.