Birth control
Overview
Birth control is an umbrella term
Umbrella term
An umbrella term is a word that provides a superset or grouping of concepts that all fall under a single common category. Umbrella term is also called a hypernym. For example, cryptology is an umbrella term that encompasses cryptography and cryptanalysis, among other fields...

 for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy
Pregnancy
Pregnancy refers to the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as a fetus or embryo, in a woman's uterus. In a pregnancy, there can be multiple gestations, as in the case of twins or triplets...

 at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception
Contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

 (the prevention of fertilization), contragestion
Contragestion
Contragestion is the prevention of implantation of the blastocyst, or a device or substance which can effect such prevention as a means of birth control. Other birth control methods include contraception, which prevents fertilization, and abortion, the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from...

 (preventing the implantation of the blastocyst
Blastocyst
The blastocyst is a structure formed in the early embryogenesis of mammals, after the formation of the morula. It is a specifically mammalian example of a blastula. It possesses an inner cell mass , or embryoblast, which subsequently forms the embryo, and an outer layer of cells, or trophoblast,...

) and abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 (the removal or expulsion of a fetus
Fetus
A fetus is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth.In humans, the fetal stage of prenatal development starts at the beginning of the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization.-Etymology and spelling variations:The...

 or embryo
Embryo
An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

 from the uterus
Uterus
The uterus or womb is a major female hormone-responsive reproductive sex organ of most mammals including humans. One end, the cervix, opens into the vagina, while the other is connected to one or both fallopian tubes, depending on the species...

). Contraception includes barrier methods, such as condoms or diaphragm
Diaphragm (contraceptive)
The diaphragm is a cervical barrier type of birth control. It is a soft latex or silicone dome with a spring molded into the rim. The spring creates a seal against the walls of the vagina.-Use:...

, hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception refers to birth control methods that act on the endocrine system. Almost all methods are composed of steroid hormones, although in India one selective estrogen receptor modulator is marketed as a contraceptive. The original hormonal method—the combined oral contraceptive...

, also known as oral contraception, and injectable contraceptives.
Encyclopedia
Birth control is an umbrella term
Umbrella term
An umbrella term is a word that provides a superset or grouping of concepts that all fall under a single common category. Umbrella term is also called a hypernym. For example, cryptology is an umbrella term that encompasses cryptography and cryptanalysis, among other fields...

 for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy
Pregnancy
Pregnancy refers to the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as a fetus or embryo, in a woman's uterus. In a pregnancy, there can be multiple gestations, as in the case of twins or triplets...

 at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception
Contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

 (the prevention of fertilization), contragestion
Contragestion
Contragestion is the prevention of implantation of the blastocyst, or a device or substance which can effect such prevention as a means of birth control. Other birth control methods include contraception, which prevents fertilization, and abortion, the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from...

 (preventing the implantation of the blastocyst
Blastocyst
The blastocyst is a structure formed in the early embryogenesis of mammals, after the formation of the morula. It is a specifically mammalian example of a blastula. It possesses an inner cell mass , or embryoblast, which subsequently forms the embryo, and an outer layer of cells, or trophoblast,...

) and abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 (the removal or expulsion of a fetus
Fetus
A fetus is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth.In humans, the fetal stage of prenatal development starts at the beginning of the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization.-Etymology and spelling variations:The...

 or embryo
Embryo
An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

 from the uterus
Uterus
The uterus or womb is a major female hormone-responsive reproductive sex organ of most mammals including humans. One end, the cervix, opens into the vagina, while the other is connected to one or both fallopian tubes, depending on the species...

). Contraception includes barrier methods, such as condoms or diaphragm
Diaphragm (contraceptive)
The diaphragm is a cervical barrier type of birth control. It is a soft latex or silicone dome with a spring molded into the rim. The spring creates a seal against the walls of the vagina.-Use:...

, hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception refers to birth control methods that act on the endocrine system. Almost all methods are composed of steroid hormones, although in India one selective estrogen receptor modulator is marketed as a contraceptive. The original hormonal method—the combined oral contraceptive...

, also known as oral contraception, and injectable contraceptives. Contragestives, also known as post-coital birth control, include intrauterine devices and what is known as the morning after pill.

Mechanisms of action and terminology

The function of birth control can be classified by the stage of reproduction during which it is active. A form of birth control which prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg is a contraceptive agent. A form of birth control which acts after fertilization to prevent or interrupt the implantation
Implantation
In humans, implantation is the beginning of pregnancy, in which the embryo Adheres to the wall of the uterus. At this stage of prenatal development, the embryo is a blastocyst...

 of the embryo into the uterine lining is a contragestive agent. After implantation has occurred, an agent which ends gestation by terminating the pregnancy is an abortifacient.

The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization.
Birth control is an umbrella term
Umbrella term
An umbrella term is a word that provides a superset or grouping of concepts that all fall under a single common category. Umbrella term is also called a hypernym. For example, cryptology is an umbrella term that encompasses cryptography and cryptanalysis, among other fields...

 for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy
Pregnancy
Pregnancy refers to the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as a fetus or embryo, in a woman's uterus. In a pregnancy, there can be multiple gestations, as in the case of twins or triplets...

 at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception
Contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

 (the prevention of fertilization), contragestion
Contragestion
Contragestion is the prevention of implantation of the blastocyst, or a device or substance which can effect such prevention as a means of birth control. Other birth control methods include contraception, which prevents fertilization, and abortion, the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from...

 (preventing the implantation of the blastocyst
Blastocyst
The blastocyst is a structure formed in the early embryogenesis of mammals, after the formation of the morula. It is a specifically mammalian example of a blastula. It possesses an inner cell mass , or embryoblast, which subsequently forms the embryo, and an outer layer of cells, or trophoblast,...

) and abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 (the removal or expulsion of a fetus
Fetus
A fetus is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth.In humans, the fetal stage of prenatal development starts at the beginning of the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization.-Etymology and spelling variations:The...

 or embryo
Embryo
An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

 from the uterus
Uterus
The uterus or womb is a major female hormone-responsive reproductive sex organ of most mammals including humans. One end, the cervix, opens into the vagina, while the other is connected to one or both fallopian tubes, depending on the species...

). Contraception includes barrier methods, such as condoms or diaphragm
Diaphragm (contraceptive)
The diaphragm is a cervical barrier type of birth control. It is a soft latex or silicone dome with a spring molded into the rim. The spring creates a seal against the walls of the vagina.-Use:...

, hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception refers to birth control methods that act on the endocrine system. Almost all methods are composed of steroid hormones, although in India one selective estrogen receptor modulator is marketed as a contraceptive. The original hormonal method—the combined oral contraceptive...

, also known as oral contraception, and injectable contraceptives. Contragestives, also known as post-coital birth control, include intrauterine devices and what is known as the morning after pill.

Mechanisms of action and terminology

The function of birth control can be classified by the stage of reproduction during which it is active. A form of birth control which prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg is a contraceptive agent.http://books.google.com/books?id=HDNorWgZIWoC&pg=PA86&vq=CONTRACEPTIVE&dq=Dictionary+MedicAL&lr=&as_drrb_is=b&as_minm_is=1&as_miny_is=1980&as_maxm_is=5&as_maxy_is=2009&num=100&as_brr=3&as_pt=ALLTYPES&source=gbs_search_s&cad=0 Melloni's Pocket Medical Dictionary By June L. Melloni, Ida G. Dox, B. John Melloni, Gilbert M. Eisner, Published by Informa Health Care, 2003, page 86.http://www.credoreference.com/entry/ehsdorland/contraceptive Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Health Sciences. (2007). Retrieved May 26, 2009. A form of birth control which acts after fertilization to prevent or interrupt the implantation
Implantation
In humans, implantation is the beginning of pregnancy, in which the embryo Adheres to the wall of the uterus. At this stage of prenatal development, the embryo is a blastocyst...

 of the embryo into the uterine lining is a contragestive agent.http://books.google.com/books?id=kT7ykAhh3fsC&pg=PA124&dq=contragestive&lr=&ei=GmUZSq6nGpKqMpSPtZEG&rview=1 The American Heritage Medical Dictionary, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Copyright May 2008. page 124. After implantation has occurred, an agent which ends gestation by terminating the pregnancy is an abortifacient.http://books.google.com/books?id=HDNorWgZIWoC&pg=PA1&vq=abortifacient&dq=Dictionary+MedicAL&lr=&as_drrb_is=b&as_minm_is=1&as_miny_is=1980&as_maxm_is=5&as_maxy_is=2009&num=100&as_brr=3&as_pt=ALLTYPES&source=gbs_search_s&cad=0 Melloni's Pocket Medical Dictionary By June L. Melloni, Ida G. Dox, B. John Melloni, Gilbert M. Eisner, Published by Informa Health Care, 2003, page 1.http://www.credoreference.com/entry/hmmedicaldict/abortifacient
The American Heritage Medical Dictionary. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. (2007)Retrieved May 26, 2009


The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization.
Birth control is an umbrella term
Umbrella term
An umbrella term is a word that provides a superset or grouping of concepts that all fall under a single common category. Umbrella term is also called a hypernym. For example, cryptology is an umbrella term that encompasses cryptography and cryptanalysis, among other fields...

 for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy
Pregnancy
Pregnancy refers to the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as a fetus or embryo, in a woman's uterus. In a pregnancy, there can be multiple gestations, as in the case of twins or triplets...

 at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception
Contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

 (the prevention of fertilization), contragestion
Contragestion
Contragestion is the prevention of implantation of the blastocyst, or a device or substance which can effect such prevention as a means of birth control. Other birth control methods include contraception, which prevents fertilization, and abortion, the removal or expulsion of a fetus or embryo from...

 (preventing the implantation of the blastocyst
Blastocyst
The blastocyst is a structure formed in the early embryogenesis of mammals, after the formation of the morula. It is a specifically mammalian example of a blastula. It possesses an inner cell mass , or embryoblast, which subsequently forms the embryo, and an outer layer of cells, or trophoblast,...

) and abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 (the removal or expulsion of a fetus
Fetus
A fetus is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth.In humans, the fetal stage of prenatal development starts at the beginning of the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization.-Etymology and spelling variations:The...

 or embryo
Embryo
An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in its earliest stage of development, from the time of first cell division until birth, hatching, or germination...

 from the uterus
Uterus
The uterus or womb is a major female hormone-responsive reproductive sex organ of most mammals including humans. One end, the cervix, opens into the vagina, while the other is connected to one or both fallopian tubes, depending on the species...

). Contraception includes barrier methods, such as condoms or diaphragm
Diaphragm (contraceptive)
The diaphragm is a cervical barrier type of birth control. It is a soft latex or silicone dome with a spring molded into the rim. The spring creates a seal against the walls of the vagina.-Use:...

, hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception refers to birth control methods that act on the endocrine system. Almost all methods are composed of steroid hormones, although in India one selective estrogen receptor modulator is marketed as a contraceptive. The original hormonal method—the combined oral contraceptive...

, also known as oral contraception, and injectable contraceptives. Contragestives, also known as post-coital birth control, include intrauterine devices and what is known as the morning after pill.

Mechanisms of action and terminology

The function of birth control can be classified by the stage of reproduction during which it is active. A form of birth control which prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg is a contraceptive agent.http://books.google.com/books?id=HDNorWgZIWoC&pg=PA86&vq=CONTRACEPTIVE&dq=Dictionary+MedicAL&lr=&as_drrb_is=b&as_minm_is=1&as_miny_is=1980&as_maxm_is=5&as_maxy_is=2009&num=100&as_brr=3&as_pt=ALLTYPES&source=gbs_search_s&cad=0 Melloni's Pocket Medical Dictionary By June L. Melloni, Ida G. Dox, B. John Melloni, Gilbert M. Eisner, Published by Informa Health Care, 2003, page 86.http://www.credoreference.com/entry/ehsdorland/contraceptive Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Health Sciences. (2007). Retrieved May 26, 2009. A form of birth control which acts after fertilization to prevent or interrupt the implantation
Implantation
In humans, implantation is the beginning of pregnancy, in which the embryo Adheres to the wall of the uterus. At this stage of prenatal development, the embryo is a blastocyst...

 of the embryo into the uterine lining is a contragestive agent.http://books.google.com/books?id=kT7ykAhh3fsC&pg=PA124&dq=contragestive&lr=&ei=GmUZSq6nGpKqMpSPtZEG&rview=1 The American Heritage Medical Dictionary, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Copyright May 2008. page 124. After implantation has occurred, an agent which ends gestation by terminating the pregnancy is an abortifacient.http://books.google.com/books?id=HDNorWgZIWoC&pg=PA1&vq=abortifacient&dq=Dictionary+MedicAL&lr=&as_drrb_is=b&as_minm_is=1&as_miny_is=1980&as_maxm_is=5&as_maxy_is=2009&num=100&as_brr=3&as_pt=ALLTYPES&source=gbs_search_s&cad=0 Melloni's Pocket Medical Dictionary By June L. Melloni, Ida G. Dox, B. John Melloni, Gilbert M. Eisner, Published by Informa Health Care, 2003, page 1.http://www.credoreference.com/entry/hmmedicaldict/abortifacient
The American Heritage Medical Dictionary. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin. (2007)Retrieved May 26, 2009


The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization.http://books.google.com/books?id=kT7ykAhh3fsC&pg=PA120&vq=CON%C2%ABCEP%C2%ABTION+(k&dq=MEDICAL++DICTIONARY+AMERICAN+HERITAGE&source=gbs_search_s&cad=0 The American Heritage Medical Dictionary Copyright 2007, 2004, page 120. The word contragestion is likewise a combination of contra and gestation. French scientist Étienne-Émile Baulieu
Étienne-Émile Baulieu
Étienne-Émile Baulieu is a French biochemist and endocrinologist who is best known for his research in the field of steroid hormones and their role in reproduction and aging.-Biography:...

 coined the word in 1985 because he felt that there was a need for a technical term to describe the prevention of implantation, which did not fit the traditional definitions of either contraception or abortion.http://www.jstor.org/stable/1704267 Contragestion and other Clinical Applications of RU 486, an Antiprogesterone at the Receptor, Etienne-Emile Baulieu Science, New Series, Vol. 245, No. 4924 (Sep. 22, 1989), pp. 1351-1357 Published by: American Association for the Advancement of Science Retrieved May 26, 2009. See also commentary: http://books.google.com/books?id=fPS5Kx6YkeQC Assessment of research and service needs in reproductive health in Eastern Europe, Elisabeth Johannisson. Published by Taylor & Francis, (1997), pp. 53-54. Since 18 U.S. states define pregnancy as beginning at conception,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16937619 The Social Life of Emergency Contraception in the United States: Disciplining Pharmaceutical Use, Disciplining Sexuality, and Constructing Zygotic Bodies by L. L. Wynn, James Trussell Medical Anthropology Quarterly, Volume 20. Issue 3. September 2006 (Page 317)Retrieved May 26, 2009. describing methods of birth control in terms of their potential means of action allows one to be technically accurate while using language that is neutral with regard to the abortifacient versus contraceptive controversy.

These mechanisms of action are not always mutually exclusive. One substance or device can have more than one potential effect depending upon when it is used. For example, while mifepristone
Mifepristone
Mifepristone is a synthetic steroid compound used as a pharmaceutical. It is a progesterone receptor antagonist used as an abortifacient in the first months of pregnancy, and in smaller doses as an emergency contraceptive. During early trials, it was known as RU-38486 or simply RU-486, its...

 is best known as an abortifacient, it can also function as a contragestive agent.http://www.jstor.org/stable/1704267 Etienne-Emile Baulieu, ibid. Likewise, the IUD can be used as a contraceptive or a contragestive depending upon when it is inserted.http://www.jstor.org/stable/3522225 Emergency: Emergency Contraception Bobbi J. Morris, Cathy Young, Kathleen Kearney, The American Journal of Nursing, Vol. 100, No. 9 (Sep., 2000), pp. 47 Published by: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Retrieved May 26, 2009.

Contraception

Contraception include barrier methods, such as condoms or diaphragm
Diaphragm (contraceptive)
The diaphragm is a cervical barrier type of birth control. It is a soft latex or silicone dome with a spring molded into the rim. The spring creates a seal against the walls of the vagina.-Use:...

, injectable contraceptives, and hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception refers to birth control methods that act on the endocrine system. Almost all methods are composed of steroid hormones, although in India one selective estrogen receptor modulator is marketed as a contraceptive. The original hormonal method—the combined oral contraceptive...

, also known as oral contraception. The most common methods of hormonal contraception include the combined oral contraceptive pill and the minipill. Hormonal emergency contraception
Emergency contraception
Emergency contraception , or emergency postcoital contraception, refers to birth control measures that, if taken after sexual intercourse, may prevent pregnancy.Forms of EC include:...

 can be both contraceptive and contragestive.

Contragestion

Contragestives include intrauterine devices placed inside the uterus and some forms of hormonal "emergency contraception
Emergency contraception
Emergency contraception , or emergency postcoital contraception, refers to birth control measures that, if taken after sexual intercourse, may prevent pregnancy.Forms of EC include:...

".

Sterilization

Surgical sterilization is available in the form of tubal ligation
Tubal ligation
Tubal ligation or tubectomy is a surgical procedure for sterilization in which a woman's fallopian tubes are clamped and blocked, or severed and sealed, either method of which prevents eggs from reaching the uterus for fertilization...

 for women and vasectomy
Vasectomy
Vasectomy is a surgical procedure for male sterilization and/or permanent birth control. During the procedure, the vasa deferentia of a man are severed, and then tied/sealed in a manner such to prevent sperm from entering into the seminal stream...

 for men. Although sterilization is considered a permanent procedure due to the uncertainty of reversal possibility, it is possible to attempt a tubal reversal
Tubal reversal
Tubal reversal, also called tubal sterilization reversal or tubal ligation reversal, is a surgical procedure that attempts to restore fertility to women after a tubal ligation...

 to reconnect the Fallopian tubes in females or a vasectomy reversal to reconnect the vasa deferentia in males. The rate of success depends on the type of sterilization that was originally performed and damage done to the tubes as well as the patient's age.womenshealth.about.com Tubal Ligation Reversal

Behavioral methods

Behavioral methods involve regulating the timing or methods of intercourse to prevent the introduction of sperm into the female reproductive tract, either altogether or when an egg may be present.

Lactational

From ancient times women tried to extend breastfeeding in order to avoid a new pregnancy. The lactational amenorrhea method
Lactational Amenorrhea Method
The lactational amenorrhea method is a method of avoiding pregnancies which is based on the natural postnatal infertility that occurs when a woman is amenorrheic and fully breastfeeding...

, or LAM, gives guidelines for determining the length of a woman's period of breastfeeding infertility.

Fertility awareness

Symptoms-based methods of fertility awareness
Fertility awareness
Fertility awareness refers to a set of practices used to determine the fertile and infertile phases of a woman's menstrual cycle. Fertility awareness methods may be used to avoid pregnancy, to achieve pregnancy, or as a way to monitor gynecological health....

 involve a woman's observation and charting of her body's fertility signs, to determine the fertile and infertile phases of her cycle. Charting may be done by hand or with the assistance of fertility monitor
Fertility monitor
A fertility monitor is an electronic device which may utilize various methods to assist the user with fertility awareness. A fertility monitor may analyze changes in hormone levels in urine, basal body temperature, electrical resistance of saliva and vaginal fluids, or a combination of these methods...

s. Most methods track one or more of the three primary fertility signs: changes in basal body temperature
Basal body temperature
Basal body temperature is the lowest temperature attained by the body during rest . It is generally measured immediately after awakening and before any physical activity has been undertaken, although the temperature measured at that time is somewhat higher than the true basal body temperature...

, in cervical mucus, and in cervical position. If a woman tracks both basal body temperature and another primary sign, the method is referred to as symptothermal. Other bodily cues such as mittelschmerz
Mittelschmerz
Mittelschmerz is a medical term for "ovulation pain" or "midcycle pain". About 20% of women experience mittelschmerz, some every cycle, some intermittently.-Symptoms and diagnosis:...

 are considered secondary indicators.

Calendar-based methods such as the rhythm method and Standard Days Method estimate the likelihood of fertility based on the length of past menstrual cycles. To avoid pregnancy with fertility awareness, unprotected sex is restricted to the least fertile period. During the most fertile period, barrier methods may be availed, or she may abstain from intercourse.
The term natural family planning
Natural family planning
Natural family planning is a term referring to the family planning methods approved by the Roman Catholic Church. In accordance with the Church's requirements for sexual behavior in keeping with its philosophy of the dignity of the human person, NFP excludes the use of other methods of birth...

(NFP) is sometimes used to refer to any use of fertility awareness methods. However, this term specifically refers to the practices that are permitted by the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 — breastfeeding infertility for example. FA methods may be used by NFP users to identify these fertile times.

Coitus interruptus

Coitus interruptus
Coitus interruptus
Coitus interruptus, also known as the rejected sexual intercourse, withdrawal or pull-out method, is a method of birth-control in which a man, during intercourse withdraws his penis from a woman's vagina prior to ejaculation...

(literally "interrupted sexual intercourse"), also known as the withdrawal or pull-out method, is the practice of ending sexual intercourse ("pulling out") before ejaculation. The main risk of coitus interruptus is that the man may not perform the maneuver correctly, or may not perform the maneuver in a timely manner. Although concern has been raised about the risk of pregnancy from sperm in pre-ejaculate
Pre-ejaculate
Pre-ejaculate is the clear, colorless, viscous fluid that emits from the urethra of a man's penis when he is sexually aroused. It is similar in composition to semen, but has some significant chemical differences...

, several small studies have failed to find any viable sperm in the fluid.

Avoiding semen near vagina

Non-penetrative sex
Non-penetrative sex
Non-penetrative sex is sexual activity without vaginal, anal, or oral penetration, as opposed to the penetrative aspects of those activities...

 is used to avoid pregnancy, but pregnancy can still occur with Intercrural sex
Intercrural sex
Intercrural sex , also known as femoral/interfemoral sex/intercourse, is a type of non-penetrative sex, in which a male places his penis between his partner's thighs , and thrusts to create friction.-Heterosexuality:The sex education and sexual experimentation of adolescents may feature intercrural...

 and other forms of penis-near-vagina sex (genital rubbing, and the penis exiting from anal intercourse)
where semen can be deposited near the entrance to the vagina and can itself travel along the vagina's lubricating fluids.

Sexual abstinence

Though some groups advocate total sexual abstinence
Sexual abstinence
Sexual abstinence is the practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for medical, psychological, legal, social, philosophical or religious reasons.Common reasons for practicing sexual abstinence include:*poor health - medical celibacy...

, by which they mean the avoidance of all sexual activity, in the context of birth control the term usually means abstinence from vaginally penetrative sexual activity.

Abstinence is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy; however, not everyone who intends to be abstinent refrains from all sexual activity, , which cites:
and in many populations there is a significant risk of pregnancy from nonconsensual sex. As a public health measure, it is estimated that the protection provided by abstinence may be similar to that of condoms. , which cites:
Some authorities recommend that those using abstinence as a primary method have backup method(s) available (such as condoms or emergency contraceptive pills).

Abortion

Surgical abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

 methods include suction-aspiration abortion
Suction-aspiration abortion
Vacuum or suction aspiration uses aspiration to remove uterine contents through the cervix. It may be used as a method of induced abortion, a therapeutic procedure used after miscarriage, or a procedure to obtain a sample for endometrial biopsy. The rate of infection is lower than any other...

 (used in the first trimester) or dilation and evacuation
Dilation and evacuation
Dilation and evacuation literally refers to the dilation of the cervix and surgical evacuation of the contents of the uterus...

 (used in the second trimester). Medical abortion
Medical abortion
A medical abortion is a type of non-surgical abortion in which abortifacient pharmaceutical drugs are used to induce abortion. An oral preparation for medical abortion is commonly referred to as an abortion pill....

 methods involve the use of medication that is swallowed or inserted vaginally to induce abortion. Medical abortion can be used if the length of gestation has not exceeded 8 weeks. Some herbs are considered abortifacient
Abortifacient
An abortifacient is a substance that induces abortion. Abortifacients for animals that have mated undesirably are known as mismating shots....

.

For females

  • Praneem is a polyherbal vaginal tablet being studied in India as a spermicide
    Spermicide
    Spermicide is a contraceptive substance that eradicates sperm, inserted vaginally prior to intercourse to prevent pregnancy. As a contraceptive, spermicide may be used alone. However, the pregnancy rate experienced by couples using only spermicide is higher than that of couples using other methods...

    , and a microbicide
    Microbicide
    Microbicides for sexually transmitted diseases, are pharmacologic agents and chemical substances that are capable of killing or destroying certain microorganisms that commonly cause human infection, for example the human immunodeficiency virus....

     active against HIV.
  • BufferGel
    BufferGel
    BufferGel is the brand name of a spermicide and microbicide gel which is being tested for its potential development into a preventative medicine to stop the transmission of HIV.-Testing:...

     is a spermicidal gel being studied as a microbicide active against HIV.
  • Duet is a disposable diaphragm in development that will be pre-filled with BufferGel. It is designed to deliver microbicide
    Microbicide
    Microbicides for sexually transmitted diseases, are pharmacologic agents and chemical substances that are capable of killing or destroying certain microorganisms that commonly cause human infection, for example the human immunodeficiency virus....

     to both the cervix and vagina. Unlike currently available diaphragms, the Duet will be manufactured in only one size and will not require a prescription, fitting, or a visit to a doctor.
  • The SILCS diaphragm
    SILCS diaphragm
    The SILCS diaphragm is a silicone barrier contraceptive device which is inserted vaginally to cover the cervix. The SILCS device was developed by the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health and SILCS, Inc...

     is a silicone
    Silicone
    Silicones are inert, synthetic compounds with a variety of forms and uses. Typically heat-resistant and rubber-like, they are used in sealants, adhesives, lubricants, medical applications , cookware, and insulation....

     barrier that is still in clinical testing. It has a finger cup molded on one end for easy removal. Unlike currently available diaphragms, the SILCS diaphragm will be available in only one size.
  • A longer acting vaginal ring
    Vaginal ring
    Vaginal rings are polymeric drug delivery devices designed to provide controlled release of drugs for intravaginal administration over extended periods of time. The ring is inserted into the vagina and provides contraception protection...

     is being developed that releases both estrogen and progesterone, and is effective for over 12 months.
  • Two types of progestogen-only vaginal rings are being developed. Progestogen-only products may be particularly useful for women who are breastfeeding. The rings may be used for four months at a time.
  • A progesterone-only contraceptive is being developed that would be sprayed onto the skin once a day.New Contraceptive Choices. Chapter 3: Transdermal contraception
  • Quinacrine
    Quinacrine
    Quinacrine is a drug with a number of different medical applications. It is related to mefloquine.-Uses:Its main effects are as an antiprotozoal, antirheumatic and an intrapleural sclerosing agent....

     sterilization (non-surgical) and the Adiana procedure (similar to Essure
    Essure
    Essure is a permanent transcervical sterilization procedure for women developed by Conceptus Inc. It was approved for use in the United States on November 4, 2002....

    ) are two permanent methods of birth control being developed.Chapter 10: Transcervical sterilization.

For males

Other than condoms and withdrawal, there is currently only one common method of birth control available. This option is undergoing a vasectomy, a minor surgical procedure wherein the vasa deferentia of a man are severed, and then tied/sealed in a manner which prevents sperm from entering the seminal stream (ejaculate). Several methods are in research and development
Research and development
The phrase research and development , according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, refers to "creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of man, culture and society, and the use of this stock of...

:
  • As of 2007, a chemical called Adjudin
    Adjudin
    Adjudin is a drug which is under development as a potential non-hormonal male contraceptive drug, which acts by blocking the production of sperm in the testes, but without affecting testosterone production...

     was in Phase II human trials as a male oral contraceptive. Full text
  • Reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance
    Reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance
    Reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance , formerly referred to as the synthetic polymer styrene maleic anhydride , is the development name of a male contraceptive developed at IIT Kharagpur in India by Dr. Sujoy K Guha. Phase III clinical trials are underway in India, slowed by insufficient...

     is an experimental injection into the vas deferens
    Vas deferens
    The vas deferens , also called ductus deferens, , is part of the male anatomy of many vertebrates; they transport sperm from the epididymis in anticipation of ejaculation....

     that coats the walls of the vas with a spermicidal substance. The method can potentially be reversed by washing out the vas deferens with a second injection.
  • Experiments in vas-occlusive contraception
    Vas-occlusive contraception
    Vas-occlusive contraception is an experimental male contraceptive method that is not yet approved for general use. Proposed methods of vas-occlusive contraception attempt to prevent sperm from traveling down the vasa deferentia...

     involve an implant placed in the vasa deferentia.
  • Experiments in heat-based contraception
    Heat-based contraception
    An experimental male contraceptive method involves heating the testicles so that they cannot produce sperm. Sperm are best produced at a temperature slightly below body temperature. The muscles around a male's scrotum involuntarily tighten if the man's body temperature drops, and they loosen,...

     involve heating the testicles to a high temperature for a short period of time.

Effectiveness

See also the table at: Comparison of birth control methods
Comparison of birth control methods
Different types of birth control methods have large differences in effectiveness, actions required of users, and side effects.-Ease of use:Different methods require different actions of users. Barrier methods, spermicides, and coitus interruptus must be used at every act of intercourse. The male...



The effectiveness of a birth control method is generally expressed by how many women become pregnant using the method in the first year of use. Thus, if 100 women use a method that has a 0 percent first-year failure rate, then 0 of the women should become pregnant during the first year of use. This equals 0 pregnancies per 100 woman-years, an alternative unit. Sometimes the effectiveness is expressed in lifetime failure rate, more commonly among methods with high effectiveness, such as vasectomy
Vasectomy
Vasectomy is a surgical procedure for male sterilization and/or permanent birth control. During the procedure, the vasa deferentia of a man are severed, and then tied/sealed in a manner such to prevent sperm from entering into the seminal stream...

 after the appropriate negative semen analysis.GPnotebook > failure rate ( vasectomy ) Retrieved on Jan 4, 2009

The most effective methods in typical use are those that do not depend upon regular user action. Surgical sterilization, Depo-Provera, implants, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) all have first-year failure rates of less than one percent for perfect use. In reality, however, perfect use may not be the case, but still, sterilization, implants, and IUDs also have typical failure rates under one percent. The typical failure rate of Depo-Provera is disagreed upon, with figures ranging from less than one percent up to three percent.

Other methods may be highly effective if used consistently and correctly, but can have typical use first-year failure rates that are considerably higher due to incorrect or ineffective usage by the user. Hormonal contraceptive pills, patches or rings, fertility awareness methods, and the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM), if used strictly, have first-year (or for LAM, first-6-month) failure rates of less than 1%.Ecochard, R.; Pinguet, F.; Ecochard, I.; De Gouvello, R.; Guy, M.; and Huy, F. (1998) "Analysis of natural family planning failures. In 7007 cycles of use", Fertilite Contraception Sexualite 26(4):291-6 In one survey, typical use first-year failure rates of hormonal contraceptive pills (and by extrapolation, patches or rings) were as high as five percent per year. Fertility awareness methods as a whole have typical use first-year failure rates as high as 25 percent per year; however, as stated above, perfect use of these methods reduces the first-year failure rate to less than 1%.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) were once associated with health risks, but most recent models of the IUD, including the ParaGard and Mirena, are both extremely safe and effective, and require very little maintenance.

Condoms and cervical barriers such as the diaphragm have similar typical use first-year failure rates (14 and 20 percent, respectively), but perfect usage of the condom is more effective (three percent first-year failure vs six percent) and condoms have the additional feature of helping to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease , also known as a sexually transmitted infection or venereal disease , is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex...

s such as the HIV virus. The withdrawal method, if used consistently and correctly, has a first-year failure rate of four percent. Due to the difficulty of consistently using withdrawal correctly, it has a typical use first-year failure rate of 19 percent, and is not recommended by some medical professionals.

Combining two birth control methods, can increase their effectiveness to 95% or more for less effective methods. Using condoms with another birth control method is also one of the recommended methods of reducing risk of getting sexually transmitted infections
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease , also known as a sexually transmitted infection or venereal disease , is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex...

, including HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

. This approach is one of the dual protection
Dual protection
Dual protection or dual method is a strategy to reducing risk of pregnancy and getting sexually transmitted infections. Dual protection can be achieved by consistent use of condoms alone, both with other birth control method or by avoidance of penetrative sex...

 strategies.

Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and Rome

Birth control and infanticide
Infanticide
Infanticide or infant homicide is the killing of a human infant. Neonaticide, a killing within 24 hours of a baby's birth, is most commonly done by the mother.In many past societies, certain forms of infanticide were considered permissible...

 are well documented in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 and Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

. One of the earliest documents explicitly referring to birth control methods is the Kahun Gynecological Papyrus
Kahun Gynecological Papyrus
The Kahun Gynaecological Papyrus is the oldest known medical text of any kind. Dated to about 1800 BCE, it deals with women's health—gynaecological diseases, fertility, pregnancy, contraception, etc.It was found at El-Lahun by Flinders Petrie in 1889 and first translated by F. Ll...

 from about 1850 BC. It describes various contraceptive pessaries, including acacia gum, which recent research has confirmed to have spermatocidal
Spermicide
Spermicide is a contraceptive substance that eradicates sperm, inserted vaginally prior to intercourse to prevent pregnancy. As a contraceptive, spermicide may be used alone. However, the pregnancy rate experienced by couples using only spermicide is higher than that of couples using other methods...

 qualities and is still used in contraceptive jellies. Other birth control methods mentioned in the papyrus include the application of gummy substances to cover the "mouth of the womb", a mixture of honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

 and sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate , Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Sodium carbonate is domestically well-known for its everyday use as a water softener. It can be extracted from the...

 applied to the inside of the vagina
Vagina
The vagina is a fibromuscular tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in female placental mammals and marsupials, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. Female insects and other invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part of the...

, and a pessary made from crocodile
Crocodile
A crocodile is any species belonging to the family Crocodylidae . The term can also be used more loosely to include all extant members of the order Crocodilia: i.e...

 dung. Lactation
Lactation
Lactation describes the secretion of milk from the mammary glands and the period of time that a mother lactates to feed her young. The process occurs in all female mammals, however it predates mammals. In humans the process of feeding milk is called breastfeeding or nursing...

 of up to three years was also used for birth control purposes in ancient Egypt.
Plants with contraceptive properties were used in Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 from the seventh century BC onwards and documented by numerous ancient writers on gynaecology
Gynaecology
Gynaecology or gynecology is the medical practice dealing with the health of the female reproductive system . Literally, outside medicine, it means "the science of women"...

, such as Hippocrates
Hippocrates
Hippocrates of Cos or Hippokrates of Kos was an ancient Greek physician of the Age of Pericles , and is considered one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine...

. The botanist Theophrastus
Theophrastus
Theophrastus , a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young age, and initially studied in Plato's school. After Plato's death he attached himself to Aristotle. Aristotle bequeathed to Theophrastus his writings, and...

 documented the use of Silphium
Silphium
Silphium was a plant that was used in classical antiquity as a rich seasoning and as a medicine. It was the essential item of trade from the ancient North African city of Cyrene, and was so critical to the Cyrenian economy that most of their coins bore a picture of the plant...

, a plant well known for its contraceptive and abortifacient
Abortifacient
An abortifacient is a substance that induces abortion. Abortifacients for animals that have mated undesirably are known as mismating shots....

 properties. The plant only grew on a small strip of land near the coastal city of Cyrene
Cyrene, Libya
Cyrene was an ancient Greek colony and then a Roman city in present-day Shahhat, Libya, the oldest and most important of the five Greek cities in the region. It gave eastern Libya the classical name Cyrenaica that it has retained to modern times.Cyrene lies in a lush valley in the Jebel Akhdar...

 (located in modern day Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

), with attempts to cultivate it elsewhere failing. Its price increased due to high demand, leading to it being worth "more than its weight in silver" by the first century BC. The high demand eventually led to the extinction of Silphium during the third or second century BC. Asafoetida
Asafoetida
Asafoetida , alternative spelling asafetida, is the dried latex exuded from the living underground rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula, which is a perennial herb...

, a close relative of siliphion, was also used for its contraceptive properties. Other plants commonly used for birth control in ancient Greece include Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota), willow
Willow
Willows, sallows, and osiers form the genus Salix, around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere...

, date palm
Date Palm
The date palm is a palm in the genus Phoenix, cultivated for its edible sweet fruit. Although its place of origin is unknown because of long cultivation, it probably originated from lands around the Persian Gulf. It is a medium-sized plant, 15–25 m tall, growing singly or forming a clump with...

, pomegranate
Pomegranate
The pomegranate , Punica granatum, is a fruit-bearing deciduous shrub or small tree growing between five and eight meters tall.Native to the area of modern day Iran, the pomegranate has been cultivated in the Caucasus since ancient times. From there it spread to Asian areas such as the Caucasus as...

, pennyroyal
Pennyroyal
Pennyroyal refers to two plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. For the American species, see American pennyroyal. The European pennyroyal, Mentha pulegium, , is a plant in the mint genus, within the family Lamiaceae. Crushed Pennyroyal leaves exhibit a very strong fragrance similar to spearmint...

, artemisia
Artemisia (plant)
Artemisia is a large, diverse genus of plants with between 200 to 400 species belonging to the daisy family Asteraceae. It comprises hardy herbs and shrubs known for their volatile oils. They grow in temperate climates of the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere, usually in dry or semi-dry...

, myrrh
Myrrh
Myrrh is the aromatic oleoresin of a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora, which grow in dry, stony soil. An oleoresin is a natural blend of an essential oil and a resin. Myrrh resin is a natural gum....

, and rue
Rue
Rue is a genus of strongly scented evergreen subshrubs 20–60 cm tall, in the family Rutaceae, native to the Mediterranean region, Macaronesia and southwest Asia. There are perhaps 8 to 40 species in the genus...

. Some of these plants are toxic and ancient Greek documents specify safe dosages. Recent studies have confirmed the birth control properties of many of these plants, confirming for example that Queen Anne's lace has post coital anti-fertility properties. Queen Anne's lace is still used today for birth control in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

. Like their neighboring ancient Greeks, Ancient Romans practiced contraception and abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

.

Religious texts

The Book of Genesis references withdrawal, or coitus interruptus
Coitus interruptus
Coitus interruptus, also known as the rejected sexual intercourse, withdrawal or pull-out method, is a method of birth-control in which a man, during intercourse withdraws his penis from a woman's vagina prior to ejaculation...

, as a method of contraception when Onan spills his semen
Semen
Semen is an organic fluid, also known as seminal fluid, that may contain spermatozoa. It is secreted by the gonads and other sexual organs of male or hermaphroditic animals and can fertilize female ova...

 on the ground so as to not father a child with his deceased brother's wife Tamar. The Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

 states that "there are three women that may cohabit with a sponge: a minor, a pregnant woman and one that nurses her child". Subsequent commentaries clarify that the "sponge" was an absorbent material, such as cotton or wool, intended to block sperm
Sperm
The term sperm is derived from the Greek word sperma and refers to the male reproductive cells. In the types of sexual reproduction known as anisogamy and oogamy, there is a marked difference in the size of the gametes with the smaller one being termed the "male" or sperm cell...

.

Ancient China

In the seventh Century BC the Chinese physician Master Tung-hsuan documented both coitus reservatus
Coitus reservatus
Coitus reservatus , also known as sexual continence, is commonly thought of as a form of sexual intercourse in which the penetrative partner does not attempt to ejaculate within the receptive partner, but instead attempts to remain at the plateau phase of intercourse for as long as possible...

 and coitus obstructus, which prevents the release of semen during intercourse. However, it is not known if these methods were used primarily as birth control methods or to preserve the man's yang
Yin and yang
In Asian philosophy, the concept of yin yang , which is often referred to in the West as "yin and yang", is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. Opposites thus only...

. In the same century Sun Ssu-mo documented the "thousand of gold contraceptive prescription" for women who no longer want to bear children. This prescription, which was supposed to induce sterility, was made of oil and quicksilver heated together for one day and taken orally.

India

Indians used a variety of birth control methods since ancient times, including a potion made of powdered palm leaf and red chalk, as well as vaginal suppositories made of honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

, ghee
Ghee
Ghee is a class of clarified butter that originated in South Asia and is commonly used in South Asian cuisine....

, rock salt or the seeds of palasa tree. A variety of birth control prescriptions, mainly made up of herbs and other plants, are listed in the 12th century Ratirahasya
Ratirahasya
The Ratirahasya is an Indian love manual written by Kokkoka. It is a popular text and is often compared to the Kama Sutra. It was probably written in the 12th century.Some commentaries have been written on this text....

 ("Secret of Love") and the Anangaranga ("The Stage of the God of Love").

Early Islam

In the late ninth to early tenth century the Persian physician Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi documents coitus interruptus
Coitus interruptus
Coitus interruptus, also known as the rejected sexual intercourse, withdrawal or pull-out method, is a method of birth-control in which a man, during intercourse withdraws his penis from a woman's vagina prior to ejaculation...

, preventing ejaculation and the use of suppositories to block the cervix
Cervix
The cervix is the lower, narrow portion of the uterus where it joins with the top end of the vagina. It is cylindrical or conical in shape and protrudes through the upper anterior vaginal wall...

 as birth control methods. He describes a number of suppositories, including elephant dung, cabbages and pitch
Pitch (resin)
Pitch is the name for any of a number of viscoelastic, solid polymers. Pitch can be made from petroleum products or plants. Petroleum-derived pitch is also called bitumen. Pitch produced from plants is also known as resin. Products made from plant resin are also known as rosin.Pitch was...

, used alone or in combination . During the same period Ali ibn Abbas al-Majusi
Ali ibn Abbas al-Majusi
Ali ibn al-'Abbas al-Majusi , also known as Masoudi, or Latinized as Haly Abbas, was a Persian physician and psychologist most famous for the Kitab al-Maliki or Complete Book of the Medical Art, his textbook on medicine and psychology.-Biography:He was born in Ahvaz, southwestern Persia, and...

 documents the use of suppositories made of rock salt for women for whom pregnancy
Pregnancy
Pregnancy refers to the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as a fetus or embryo, in a woman's uterus. In a pregnancy, there can be multiple gestations, as in the case of twins or triplets...

 may be dangerous. In the early tenth century the Persian Polymath Abu Ali al-Hussain ibn Abdallah ibn Sina, known in Europe as Avicenna, included a chapter on birth control in his medical encyclopedia The Canon of Medicine
The Canon of Medicine
The Canon of Medicine is an encyclopedia of Galenic medicine in five books compiled by Ibn Sīnā and completed in 1025. It presents a clear and organized summary of all the medical knowledge of the time...

, documenting 20 different methods of preventing conception.

Modern history

In modern Europe knowledge of herbal abortifacients and contraceptives to regulate fertility has largely been lost, resulting in the most extensive population growth in human history. Historian John M. Riddle
John Riddle
John Riddle is an Alumni Distinguished Professor emeritus of History at North Carolina State University and a specialist in the history of medicine.His specialization is the history of drugs particularly during the classical and medieval periods....

 found that this remarkable loss of basic knowledge can be attributed to attempts of the early modern European states to "repopulate" Europe after dramatic losses following the plague epidemics that started in 1348. According to Riddle, one of the policies implemented by the church and supported by feudal lords to destroy the knowledge of birth control included the initiation of witch hunts against midwives
Midwifery
Midwifery is a health care profession in which providers offer care to childbearing women during pregnancy, labour and birth, and during the postpartum period. They also help care for the newborn and assist the mother with breastfeeding....

, who had knowledge of herbal abortifacients and contraceptives.Heinsohn, Gunnar, Otto Steiger (1999). Birth Control: The Political-Economical Rationale behind Jean Bodin's Demonomanie. History of Political Economy 1999 31(3), pp. 423-448 http://hope.dukejournals.org/cgi/pdf_extract/31/3/423Heinsohn, Gunnar, Otto Steiger (2004). Witchcraft, Population Catastrophe and Economic Crisis in Renaissance Europe: An Alternative Macroeconomic Explanation. Discussion Paper, University of Bremen 2004 (full text)

On December 5, 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued the Summis desiderantes affectibus, a papal bull in which he recognized the existence of witches and gave full papal approval for the Inquisition
Inquisition
The Inquisition, Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis , was the "fight against heretics" by several institutions within the justice-system of the Roman Catholic Church. It started in the 12th century, with the introduction of torture in the persecution of heresy...

 to proceed "correcting, imprisoning, punishing and chastising" witches "according to their deserts." In the bull, which is sometimes referred to as the "Witch-Bull of 1484", the witches were explicitly accused of having "slain infants yet in the mother's womb" (abortion) and of "hindering men from performing the sexual act and women from conceiving" (contraception).The Bull of Innocent VIII as published in the Malleus Maleficarum
Malleus Maleficarum
The Malleus Maleficarum is an infamous treatise on witches, written in 1486 by Heinrich Kramer, an Inquisitor of the Catholic Church, and was first published in Germany in 1487...

translated by Montague Summers
Montague Summers
Augustus Montague Summers was an eccentric English author and clergyman. He is known primarily for his scholarly work on the English drama of the 17th century, as well as for his idiosyncratic studies on witches, vampires, and werewolves, in all of which he professed to believe...

Famous texts that served to guide the witch hunt and instruct magistrates on how to find and convict so-called "witches" include the Malleus Maleficarum
Malleus Maleficarum
The Malleus Maleficarum is an infamous treatise on witches, written in 1486 by Heinrich Kramer, an Inquisitor of the Catholic Church, and was first published in Germany in 1487...

, and Jean Bodin
Jean Bodin
Jean Bodin was a French jurist and political philosopher, member of the Parlement of Paris and professor of law in Toulouse. He is best known for his theory of sovereignty; he was also an influential writer on demonology....

's "De la demonomanie des sorciers".Jean Bodin (1580). De la Demonomanie des Sorciers The Malleus Maleficarum was written by the priest J. Sprenger (born in Rheinfelden
Rheinfelden
Rheinfelden is a municipality in the canton of Aargau in Switzerland, seat of the district of Rheinfelden. It is located 15 kilometres east of Basel. The name means the fields of the Rhine, as the town is located on the Hochrhein. It is home to Feldschlösschen, the most popular beer in...

, today Switzerland), who was appointed by Pope Innocent VIII as the General Inquisitor for Germany around 1475, and H. Institoris
Heinrich Kramer
Heinrich Kramer also known under the Latinized name Henricus Institoris, was a German churchman and inquisitor....

, who at the time was inquisitor for Tyrol, Salzburg, Bohemia and Moravia. The authors accused witches, among other things, of infanticide
Infanticide
Infanticide or infant homicide is the killing of a human infant. Neonaticide, a killing within 24 hours of a baby's birth, is most commonly done by the mother.In many past societies, certain forms of infanticide were considered permissible...

 and having the power to steal men's penises.Broedel, Hans Peter (2004). The Malleus Maleficarum and the Construction of Witchcraft: Theology and Popular Belief. Manchester University Press, p. 34

Birth control and public policy

Restrictive legislation on birth control was continually employed by European governments throughout the period of mercantilism
Mercantilism
Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and security of the state. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Mercantilism dominated Western European economic policy and discourse from...

 and formed the backbone of the populationist strategy of this era. The mercantillists argued that a large population was a form of wealth, making it possible to create bigger market
Market
A market is one of many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers...

s and armies
Army
An army An army An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" (feminine), in the broadest sense, is the land-based military of a nation or state. It may also include other branches of the military such as the air force via means of aviation corps...

. The intense violence during the mercantilist era of the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe can be seen as a result of successful political implementation of population growth
Population growth
Population growth is the change in a population over time, and can be quantified as the change in the number of individuals of any species in a population using "per unit time" for measurement....

 by means of restricting birth control, which created an enormous youth bulge. This youth bulge, as explained by youth bulge theory, in turn fueled imperialist
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 expansion of the European empires.

In the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, to facilitate social equality between men and women, birth control was made readily available. Alexandra Kollontai
Alexandra Kollontai
Alexandra Mikhailovna Kollontai was a Russian Communist revolutionary, first as a member of the Mensheviks, then from 1914 on as a Bolshevik. In 1919 she became the first female government minister in Europe...

 (1872–1952), commissar for public welfare during this time, also promoted birth control education for adults as well. In France, women fought for reproductive rights and they helped end the nation's ban on birth control in 1965. In Italy women gained the right to access birth control information in 1970.Hunt, Lynn, Thomas R. Martin, Barbara H. Rosenwein, R. Po-chia Hsia, and Bonnie G. Smith. The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures. Third ed. Vol. C. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009.

A recent, well-studied example of governmental restriction of birth control in order to promote higher birth rates was the post-World War II Nicolae Ceauşescu
Nicolae Ceausescu
Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

 era in Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

.Kligman, Gail (1998). The Politics of Duplicity. Controlling Reproduction in Ceausescu's Romania. Berkeley: University of California Press. http://books.google.de/books?id=nXuaVeRortkC&printsec=frontcover&dq=kligman+politics&hl=de&ei=q1MuTcDSGJXV4gaX04XHCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&ved=0CC0Q6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false; Lataianu, Manuela (2001). The 1966 Law Concerning Prohibition of Abortion in Romania and its Consequences. The Fate of a Generation. Warsaw, Polish Academy of the Sciences http://www.demogr.mpg.de/Papers/workshops/010623_paper25.pdf

Birth control was a contested political issue in Britain during the 19th century. Malthusians were in favour of limiting population growth and therefore promoted birth control through organisations such as the Malthusian League
Malthusian League
The Malthusian League was a British organisation which advocated for the abolition of all penalties against public discussion of contraception and the education of the public about the importance of family planning. It was established in 1877 and was dissolved in 1927...

, while the idea was opposed by a variety of groups such as socialists, and the regligious establishment.

The Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

's opposition towards birth control continues to this day and has been a major influence on U.S. policies concerning the problem of population growth and unrestricted access to birth control.Stephen D. Mumford
Stephen D. Mumford
Stephen Douglas Mumford is an American expert on fertility and population growth.Mumford was born August 28, 1942 in Louisville, Kentucky. He did his undergraduate studies in agriculture at the University of Kentucky, graduating in 1966...

 (1996). The Life and Death of NSSM 200: How the Destruction of Political Will doomed a U.S. Population Policy. Research Triangle Park, NC: Center for Research on Population and Security http://www.population-security.org/index.html#15; see also Stephen D. Mumford (1996): The Vatican's Role in the World Population Crisis: the untold story. Presentation given at Main Line Unitarian Church April 14, 1996 http://www.population-security.org/phil95.htm


Barrier methods such as the condom
Condom
A condom is a barrier device most commonly used during sexual intercourse to reduce the probability of pregnancy and spreading sexually transmitted diseases . It is put on a man's erect penis and physically blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner...

 have been around much longer, but were seen primarily as a means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases, not pregnancy. Casanova
Giacomo Casanova
Giacomo Girolamo Casanova de Seingalt was an Italian adventurer and author from the Republic of Venice. His autobiography, Histoire de ma vie , is regarded as one of the most authentic sources of the customs and norms of European social life during the 18th century...

 in the 18th century was one of the first reported using "assurance caps" to prevent impregnating his mistresses.Fryer P. (1965). 'the Birth controllers', London: Secker and Warburg and Dingwall EJ. (1953) 'Early contraceptive sheaths' BMJ, Jan 1: 40-1 in Lewis M. 'A Brief history of condoms' in Mindel A. (2000) 'Condoms', BMJ books

Etymology and movement

The phrase "birth control" entered the English language
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 in 1914 and was popularised by Margaret Sanger
Margaret Sanger
Margaret Higgins Sanger was an American sex educator, nurse, and birth control activist. Sanger coined the term birth control, opened the first birth control clinic in the United States, and established Planned Parenthood...

 and Otto Bobsein. Margaret Sanger was mainly active in the United States, but had gained an international reputation by the 1930s. The birth control campaigner Marie Stopes
Marie Stopes
Marie Carmichael Stopes was a British author, palaeobotanist, campaigner for women's rights and pioneer in the field of birth control...

, who had opened Britain’s first birth control clinic in 1921 and made contraception
Contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

 acceptable in Britain during the 1920 by framing it in scientific terms, also gained an international reputation. Stopes was particularly influential in helping emerging birth control movements in a number of British colonies.
"Birth control" was advanced as alternative to the then-fashionable terms "family limitation" and "voluntary motherhood." Family limitation referred to deliberate attempts by couples to end childbearing after the desired number of children had been born. Voluntary motherhood had been coined by feminists in the 1870s as a political critique of "involuntary motherhood" and expressing a desire for women's emancipation. Advocates for voluntary motherhood disapproved of contraception
Contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

, arguing that women should only engage in sex for the purpose of procreation and advocated for periodic or permanent abstinence
Abstinence
Abstinence is a voluntary restraint from indulging in bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure. Most frequently, the term refers to sexual abstinence, or abstention from alcohol or food. The practice can arise from religious prohibitions or practical...

. In contrast the birth control movement advocated for contraception so as to permit sexual intercourse as desired without the risk of pregnancy. By emphasising "control" the birth control movement argued that women should have control over their reproduction and the movement had close ties to the feminist movement. Slogans such as "control over our own bodies" criticised male domination and demanded women's liberation, a connotation that is absent from family planning
Family planning
Family planning is the planning of when to have children, and the use of birth control and other techniques to implement such plans. Other techniques commonly used include sexuality education, prevention and management of sexually transmitted infections, pre-conception counseling and...

, population control
Population control
Human population control is the practice of artificially altering the rate of growth of a human population.Historically, human population control has been implemented by limiting the population's birth rate, usually by government mandate, and has been undertaken as a response to factors including...

 and eugenics
Eugenics
Eugenics is the "applied science or the bio-social movement which advocates the use of practices aimed at improving the genetic composition of a population", usually referring to human populations. The origins of the concept of eugenics began with certain interpretations of Mendelian inheritance,...

. Though in the 1980s birth control and population control organisations co-operated in demanding rights to contraception and abortion, with an increasing emphasis on "choice."

The societal acceptance of birth control required the separation of sex
Sex
In biology, sex is a process of combining and mixing genetic traits, often resulting in the specialization of organisms into a male or female variety . Sexual reproduction involves combining specialized cells to form offspring that inherit traits from both parents...

 from procreation, making birth control a highly controversial subject in the 20th Century. Birth control has become a major theme in feminist politics who cited reproduction issues as examples of women's powerlessness to exercise their rights. In the 1960s and 1970s the birth control movement advocated for the legalisation of abortion and large scale education campaigns about contraception by governments. In a broader context birth control has become an arena for conflict between liberal and conservative values, raising questions about family, personal freedom, state intervention, religion in politics, sexual morality and social welfare.

Society and culture

United States

Some states formerly had laws prohibiting the use of contraception. In 1965, the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 ruled in the case Griswold v. Connecticut
Griswold v. Connecticut
Griswold v. Connecticut, , was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the Constitution protected a right to privacy. The case involved a Connecticut law that prohibited the use of contraceptives...

that a Connecticut
Connecticut
Connecticut is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. It is bordered by Rhode Island to the east, Massachusetts to the north, and the state of New York to the west and the south .Connecticut is named for the Connecticut River, the major U.S. river that approximately...

 law prohibiting the use of contraceptives violated the "right to marital privacy". In 1972, the case Eisenstadt v. Baird
Eisenstadt v. Baird
Eisenstadt v. Baird, , was an important United States Supreme Court case that established the right of unmarried people to possess contraception on the same basis as married couples and, by implication, the right of unmarried couples to engage in potentially nonprocreative sexual intercourse .The...

expanded the right to possess and use contraceptives to unmarried couples.

France

The 1920
1920 in France
See also:1919 in France,other events of 1920,1921 in France.----Events from the year 1920 in France.-Events:At the opening of the year 1920, France was in a stronger position than she had been in for several generations...

 Birth Law contained a clause that criminalizes dissemination of birth-control literature. That law, however, was annulled in 1967 by the Neuwirth Law, thus authorizing contraception, which was followed in 1975 with the Veil Law. Only 5% of French women aged 18 to 45 do not use contraception.

Religious views on birth control

Religions vary widely in their views of the ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 of birth control. The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 accepts only Natural Family Planning
Natural family planning
Natural family planning is a term referring to the family planning methods approved by the Roman Catholic Church. In accordance with the Church's requirements for sexual behavior in keeping with its philosophy of the dignity of the human person, NFP excludes the use of other methods of birth...

 and only for serious reasons, while Protestants maintain a wide range of views from allowing none
Quiverfull
Quiverfull is a movement among some conservative evangelical Christian couples chiefly in the United States, but with some adherents in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Britain and elsewhere. It promotes procreation, and sees children as a blessing from God, eschewing all forms of birth control,...

 to very lenient. Views in Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 range from the stricter Orthodox
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 sect to the more relaxed Reform
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

 sect. Hindus
Hinduism
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religious tradition of the Indian Subcontinent. Hinduism is known to its followers as , amongst many other expressions...

 may use both natural and artificial contraceptives. A common Buddhist
Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion and philosophy encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices, largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as the Buddha . The Buddha lived and taught in the northeastern Indian subcontinent some time between the 6th and 4th...

 view of birth control is that preventing conception is ethically acceptable, while intervening after conception has occurred or may have occurred is not.

In Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, contraceptives are allowed if they do not threaten health, although their use is discouraged by some. The Quran does not make any explicit statements about the morality of contraception, but contains statements encouraging procreation. Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 also is reported to have said "marry and procreate".Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid. "Contraception: Permissible?," IslamOnline
IslamOnline
Islamonline is a global Islamic website on the Internet providing services to Muslims and non-Muslims in several languages. Its motto is "credibility and distinction." Sunni Muslim scholar....

.

Cultural attitudes

According to Peter Mulira, "Reproduction in Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

 is a cultural issue in which large families are seen as a source of free labour and wealth.""Population Explosion - Africa is Sitting On a Time Bomb". allAfrica.com. March 31, 2010.

Many nations in Western Europe today would have declining populations if it were not for international immigration."Europe: Population and Migration in 2005 ". By Rainer Muenz
Hamburg Institute of International Economics and Erste Bank. June 2006.
The feminist movement
Feminist movement
The feminist movement refers to a series of campaigns for reforms on issues such as reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, women's suffrage, sexual harassment and sexual violence...

 has affected change in Western society, including education; and the reproductive rights
Reproductive rights
Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health. The World Health Organization defines reproductive rights as follows:...

 of women to make individual decisions on pregnancy (including access to contraceptives and abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

).

A number of nations today are experiencing population decline.UN predicts huge migration to rich countries. Telegraph. 15 March 2007. Growing female participation in the work force and greater numbers of women going into further education has led to many women delaying or deciding against having children, or to not have as many."Eastern European population to plummet". BBC News. May 3, 2000 In Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of Europe. The term has widely disparate geopolitical, geographical, cultural and socioeconomic readings, which makes it highly context-dependent and even volatile, and there are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region"...

 and Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, natality fell abruptly after the end of the Soviet Union."Birth Rates Plummeting in Some Ex-Communist Regions of Eastern Europe". The New York Times. December 31, 1991 The World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 issued a report predicting that between 2007 and 2027 the populations of Georgia and Ukraine will decrease by 17% and 24% respectively.

Sex education

Many teenagers, most commonly in developed countries, receive some form of sex education
Sex education
Sex education refers to formal programs of instruction on a wide range of issues relating to human sexuality, including human sexual anatomy, sexual reproduction, sexual intercourse, reproductive health, emotional relations, reproductive rights and responsibilities, abstinence, contraception, and...

 in school. What information should be provided in such programs is hotly contested, especially in the United States and United Kingdom. Topics include reproductive anatomy, human sexual behavior, information on sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), social aspects of sexual interaction, negotiating skills intended to help teens follow through with a decision to remain abstinent or to use birth control during sex, and information on birth control methods.

One type of sex education program used in some more conservative areas of the United States is called abstinence-only education, and it generally promotes complete sexual abstinence
Sexual abstinence
Sexual abstinence is the practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for medical, psychological, legal, social, philosophical or religious reasons.Common reasons for practicing sexual abstinence include:*poor health - medical celibacy...

 until marriage
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

. The programs do not encourage birth control, often provide inaccurate information about contraceptives and sexuality,
stress failure rates of condoms and other contraceptives, and teach strategies for avoiding sexually intimate situations. Advocates of abstinence-only education believe that the programs will result in decreased rates of teenage pregnancy and STD infection.

Abstinence-only sex education programs show an increase the rates of pregnancy and STDs in the teenage population in randomized controlled trial
Randomized controlled trial
A randomized controlled trial is a type of scientific experiment - a form of clinical trial - most commonly used in testing the safety and efficacy or effectiveness of healthcare services or health technologies A randomized controlled trial (RCT) is a type of scientific experiment - a form of...

s.
Professional medical organizations, including the AMA
American Medical Association
The American Medical Association , founded in 1847 and incorporated in 1897, is the largest association of medical doctors and medical students in the United States.-Scope and operations:...

, AAP
American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is the major professional association of pediatricians in the United States. The AAP was founded in 1930 by 35 pediatricians to address pediatric healthcare standards. It currently has 60,000 members in primary care and sub-specialist areas...

, ACOG, APHA
American Public Health Association
The American Public Health Association is Washington, D.C.-based professional organization for public health professionals in the United States. Founded in 1872 by Dr. Stephen Smith, APHA has more than 30,000 members worldwide...

, APA
American Psychological Association
The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and professional organization of psychologists in the United States. It is the world's largest association of psychologists with around 154,000 members including scientists, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. The APA...

, and Society for Adolescent Medicine
Adolescent medicine
Adolescent medicine is a medical subspecialty that focuses on care of patients who are in the adolescent period of development, generally ranging from the last years of elementary school until graduation from high school...

, support comprehensive sex education (providing abstinence and contraceptive information) and oppose the sole use of abstinence-only sex education.

Misconceptions

Modern misconceptions and urban legend
Urban legend
An urban legend, urban myth, urban tale, or contemporary legend, is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories that may or may not have been believed by their tellers to be true...

s have given rise to a great many false claims:
  • The suggestion that douching
    Douche
    A douche is a device used to introduce a stream of water into the body for medical or hygienic reasons, or the stream of water itself.Douche usually refers to vaginal irrigation, the rinsing of the vagina, but it can also refer to the rinsing of any body cavity. A douche bag is a piece of...

     with any substance immediately following intercourse works as a contraceptive is untrue. While it may seem like a sensible idea to try to wash the ejaculate out of the vagina, it is not likely to be effective. Due to the nature of the fluids and the structure of the female reproductive tract, douching most likely actually spreads semen further towards the uterus. Some slight spermicidal effect may occur if the douche solution is particularly acidic, but overall it is not scientifically observed to be a reliably effective method. Douching is neither a contraceptive nor a preventative measure against STDs or other infections.
  • It is untrue that a female cannot become pregnant as a result of the first time she engages in sexual intercourse.
  • While women are usually less fertile for the first few days of menstruation,, which cites:
it is a myth that a woman absolutely cannot get pregnant if she has sex during her period
Menstrual cycle
The menstrual cycle is the scientific term for the physiological changes that can occur in fertile women for the purpose of sexual reproduction. This article focuses on the human menstrual cycle....

.
  • Having sex in a hot tub does not prevent pregnancy, but may contribute to vaginal infections.
  • There is no evidence that any particular sexual position is more likely to lead to conception and no sexual position prevents pregnancy. Having sex while standing up or with a woman on top will not keep the sperm from entering the uterus. The force of ejaculation, the contractions of the uterus caused by prostaglandins in the semen, as well as ability of the sperm to swim overrides gravity.
  • Urinating after sex does not prevent pregnancy and is not a form of birth control, although it is often advised anyway to help prevent urinary tract infections.
  • Toothpaste cannot be used as an effective contraceptive.
  • Though intrauterine devices (IUDs) are popular in many parts of the world, many people in the United States believe they are dangerous, probably in large part due to the widely publicized health risks associated with an IUD model called the Dalkon Shield
    Dalkon Shield
    The Dalkon Shield was a contraceptive intrauterine device developed by the Dalkon Corporation and marketed by the A.H. Robins Company. The Dalkon Shield was found to cause severe injury to a disproportionately large percentage of its users, which eventually led to numerous lawsuits in which...

    . In reality, the most recent models of the IUD, ParaGard
    Paragard
    The ParaGard T-380A is an IUD with copper, manufactured and marketed in the United States by Duramed Pharmaceuticals. It is the only copper-containing intrauterine device approved for use in the U.S....

     and Mirena, are both extremely safe and effective.

See also

  • Birth rate
    Birth rate
    Crude birth rate is the nativity or childbirths per 1,000 people per year . Another word used interchangeably with "birth rate" is "natality". When the crude birth rate is subtracted from the crude death rate, it reveals the rate of natural increase...

  • History of the birth control movement in the United States
  • Population control
    Population control
    Human population control is the practice of artificially altering the rate of growth of a human population.Historically, human population control has been implemented by limiting the population's birth rate, usually by government mandate, and has been undertaken as a response to factors including...

  • One-child policy
    One-child policy
    The one-child policy refers to the one-child limitation applying to a minority of families in the population control policy of the People's Republic of China . The Chinese government refers to it under the official translation of family planning policy...

  • Mexico City Policy
    Mexico City Policy
    The Mexico City Policy, also known by critics as the Mexico City Gag Rule and the Global Gag Rule, was an intermittent United States government policy that required all non-governmental organizations that receive federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services, as a...

  • Natalism
    Natalism
    Natalism is a belief that promotes human reproduction. The term is taken from the Latin adjective form for "birth", natalis. Natalism promotes child-bearing and glorifies parenthood...

  • National Birth Control League
    National Birth Control League
    The National Birth Control League was a birth control organization in the United States. It was founded in March 1915 by Mary Dennett, Clara Gruening Stillman and Jessie Ashley. Its main purpose was to overturn the laws which banned contraceptives from the U.S. mails...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK