Annotated Bibliography: Birth Control Practices

Pages: 4 (1463 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Women's Issues - Sexuality  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Selphium is one of the most important materials in the history of birth control. Other texts explore the flower as one of many forms of contraception but Evans helps to explain it in the context of the other birth control techniques. In addition to this, the article also explains other contraception materials and their uses by both genders increasing knowledge of the overall issue.

Lipsey, Richard G., Carlaw, Kenneth, & Bekar, Clifford. "Historical Record on the Control of Family Size." Economic Transformations: General Purpose Technologies and Long-Term Economic Growth. Oxford University Press, 2005. 335-40. Recorded history shows that since the beginning people have endeavored to prevent the birth of children because they could not afford their care or were not in a social position to become parents or any other reason. Ancient Mesopotamia and Egyptian societies both have histories of rampant infanticide. Contraception prevented the production of unwanted children and the subsequent mass infanticides that followed. In addition to putting the birth control history within its cultural context, Lipsey et al. also explains the prevalence of contraception usage and the fact that materials available were considered so accurate in their usage that more than one natural contraceptive was hunted into existence.

McLaren, Angus. A History of Contraception from Antiquity to the Present Day. Cambridge,

MA: Basil Blackwell, 1990. Classical examples of contraception and birth control were mainly herbal remedies as well as sexual rituals which were believed to prevent conception. Some modern people mistakenly believe that ancient contraception was based on "magic and superstition," that mysticism rather than medicine was what they practiced. What others have labeled as potions were actual herbal remedies which would prevent conception or induce abortions. Historians have examined textual evidence and come to the conclusion that many ancient methods were actually much more effective and less dangerous than some of their modern counterparts. Vaginal suppositories were used particularly often in Ancient Times.

McLaren's book serves to clearly explain the misconceptions that modern people have of ancient methodologies. He also tries to put ancient terminologies in terms that modern scholars can understand and even to relate them to comparable modern methods. The major point of this text is to provide evidence of the veracity of ancient treatments and to defend the ancient medical peoples who performed them.

Riddle, John M. Contraception and Abortion from the Ancient World to the Renaissance.

Boston: Harvard, 1994. Contraception and birth control goes far back into history to the very beginnings of recorded time. Many think only of Ancient Greek and Rome as pertaining to the Ancient World, but this encompasses all of Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa as well. Riddle's book serves as an encyclopedia of information about these various regions. In addition he traces how these contraceptives affected and were affected by the rest of the culture in a given historical moment, such as literature or theater of Ancient Greece.

The basic thesis of Riddle's book is that the Ancient world did use contraceptives which were relatively safe and also quite efficient. It is believed that ancient forms of medicine were archaic, dangerous, and the work of uneducated quacks. Obviously, those who are more well-informed know those suppositions to be false. Although the Ancients may not have understood chemical medicine as we know it today, their methods were still useful and effective particularly in the field of gynecology where patients were in desperate need of aid.

Soranus of Ephesus. Soranus' Gynaecology. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1991. This text is a reprint of an ancient textbook which was the first authoritative text about the female human body and how it differentiated from the male. Soranus explains in clear detail, as translated into modern English, exactly how gynecological issues including birth control were dealt with in Ancient Greece. The author also carefully explains the differences between abortion and contraception and how the two terms have been complicated throughout history. The viewpoint of Soranus is that it far better to prevent conception than to abort a fetus after pregnancy and gives several natural methods of birth control including pomegranate peel and dried figs.

People erroneously think of birth control as a modern invention. Soranus' book not only explains birth control methods which were concurrent at the time of his writings, but also explains methods which came before. This text is useful in that it is a complete understanding of birth control… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Cite This Annotated Bibliography:

APA Format

Birth Control Practices.  (2013, February 13).  Retrieved July 15, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Birth Control Practices."  13 February 2013.  Web.  15 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Birth Control Practices."  February 13, 2013.  Accessed July 15, 2019.