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The Terrible & Ineffective Ways On How Women From the Middle Ages Avoided Getting Pregnant

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The Terrible & Ineffective Ways On How Women From the Middle Ages Avoided Getting Pregnant

Today there is a wide range of contraceptive choices available in most supermarkets and pharmacies around the world.

But what about our ancestors in medieval times who did not have access to condoms and the contraceptive pill?

What about medieval people that wanted to have sex, but didn’t want to reproduce?

In this article, we are going to talk about how 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 necessity to solve them.

By getting pregnant in medieval times, you were putting yourself in danger, as there were many complications that could arise from the process given the fact that medieval doctors didn’t have the same knowledge and tools as of today’s doctors.

For parents, if you didn’t have the right resources such as food to feed the child, and shelter to warm the child, the smartest thing you could do is not have sex at all.

How To Avoid Medieval Pregnancy 101

According to the Catholic Church, getting pregnant and becoming a mother was something God had intended for a woman.

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 contraceptive methods because by using them you were violating natural law.

contraceptive methods in medieval times

The number one method of avoiding pregnancy back then was the universal “pull out” method.

Pulling out at the right moment was a pretty logical thing to do, even though it was not always 100% effective.

Even though the church was against it, 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 ones from noble families were raised for one purpose only: to breed noble children.

They had a single purpose which was getting pregnant and increasing the dynastic line making it stronger and larger.

Contraceptive methods in medieval times

Sometimes the “pull out” method wasn’t always successful, or in some cases, the man was against following this specific method.

So women had to be creative and find other ways to avoid pregnancy.

The following methods are not going to be so pleasant.

A well-known method with prostitutes was soaking 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 herbs that had toxins in them.

The name of the herb is pennyroyal, and the tea made from it was used for abortions.

These toxins were able to prevent childbirth, but the method provided some side effects  that may cause some serious health issues.


If none of these methods worked, then physical abuse would be used as a last straw attempt for the woman to lose the baby. Whilst this was an extreme approach, it produced results and was a feasible option for those who were not in a position to look after a baby.

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