When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade! But what happens when life gives you reproductive urges and you don’t want to reproduce? Yeah, of course you can go ahead and use any of the contraceptive methods that we have at our disposal today, but what about our ancestors? What about the people from our past that wanted to have sex, but didn’t want to reproduce? In this article we are going to talk about how the women from the middle ages were able to avoid getting pregnant. You are going to be amazed by the solutions people have to problems when it’s a must to solve them.

Getting pregnant is something serious because it’s really hard to raise a child, especially in the medieval period. If you didn’t have the right resources such as food to feed the child, and shelter to warm him, the smartest thing you could do is not have sex at all.

By getting pregnant you were putting yourself in danger, because as we all know child birth is not a walk in the park. There are many complications that can arise from the process given the fact that medieval doctors didn’t have the same knowledge and tools as today’s doctors.

How To Avoid Medieval Pregnancy 101

Getting pregnant and becoming a mother was something god has intended for a women to do, according to the Catholic Church. Bringing a new life into this world is god’s creation and shouldn’t be something to play around with. The Catholic Church was against the then known contraceptive methods, because by using them you were violating the natural law.

The number one method of avoiding pregnancy back then was the universal “pull out” method . Pulling out in the right exact moment was a pretty logical thing to do even though it does not work every time. It was very effective for the medieval period.

Even though the church was against it all, people were still doing it, and out of “necessity” the church stated the following to the public. “Sexual intercourse should be only made in the missionary style and the women should never be on top.” Most of the women, especially the ones from noble families were raised for one purpose only, and that is to breed noble children. They had a single purpose which was getting pregnant and increasing the dynastic line making it stronger and larger, because after all it was god’s will.

The Other More Useful Methods

Even though the “pull out” method wasn’t always successful or in some cases the man was against it, the woman had to find other ways to avoid pregnancy. The following methods are not going to be so pleasant.

A well known method with the prostitutes was where they soaked various cloth items or sponges into vinegar and stuffed it inside them for protection. This was done so that the male’s sperm couldn’t reach their eggs. This worked but the process wasn’t so pleasant.

There were also well known herbs that had toxins in them. These toxins were able to prevent child birth, but the method provided some side effects  that may cause some serious health issues. The name of the herb is pennyroyal, and the tea made from it was used for abortions.

If none of these methods worked, then there was always the physical abuse that could cause the woman to lose the baby. This was a bit extreme for everyone but it was a probable option. For this one I don’t think we need to explain what you can do in order to loose the baby.

There were more methods out there, but these 3 were the most common ones. This is a more sensitive topic and that is why we want to read your opinions on it in the comment section. Would you support abortion if you had medieval circumstances, or you would oppose it? Feel free to share your thoughts!


Medieval penitential sex flowchart