History of contraception

By YAB Member Scott, 16, Los Angeles

History is important because it gives us an insight into the reasons why we have things the way they are today. When diving into the variety of contraceptives, sometimes called birth control, we have today, there can be a lot of questions and perhaps uncertainty. That’s perfectly normal, and always wanting to find out more to make sure you make the best decision possible is a great attitude to have! So without further ado, let’s go into the history of some contraceptives and see the developments that lead to them being what we know them as today.

The Condom

Male-controlled contraceptive methods have been recorded in history as far back as the Ancient Greeks. They also have played a key role in reducing syphilis rates during the Renaissance, as it was found that applying a sheath during intercourse leads to lower infections. That being said the first time we see something closer to what we have today would be in the 19th century, as rubber became the predominant material for condoms, and eventually was turned to latex in the 20th century. With every new adaptation made, the use and knowledge of condoms have expanded, and production has increased for more availability throughout the world. For more on condoms, feel free to check this link.

California teens can also order free condoms here.

The Pill

First created as a concept during the early part of the 20th century, it was an effort that took decades to fully realize. While initially only accepted for menstrual disorders, it was later approved for contraceptive use. Improvements were made throughout the years since to alleviate some side effects, and eventually became one of the most popular forms of birth control. The original high-dose pills are no longer in use, and modern birth control pills are now in use for more than just contraceptive methods, with period control a new possibility with them. With a wide variety of different birth control pills, feel free to peruse them to find the one right for you. For more on the birth control pill, feel free to check this link!


Before the IUD, early devices that sought to replicate its use often had issues, as they caused a large amount of pelvic inflammatory diseases. This history has caused some distrust of birth control and rumors about IUDs but the methods we have today are safe to use and do not cause pelvic inflammatory disease.  So when the IUD was officially made during the early 20th century, it was a much-welcomed addition to the variety of birth control methods, as it was significantly less likely to cause such problematic infections. The innovation didn’t stop there though, and experimentation with various types of materials continued. The experimentation also brought upon the T shape that many IUDs currently take after. For more on IUDs, feel free to check this link.

There have been so many improvements in birth control, and each new idea has led to numerous improvements and options for consumers when it comes to birth control. With the wide variety of choices available to you, try researching the one that fits you best. Each one can have their own pros and cons, and only you can truly determine which one is right for you. You can find a clinic near you to get started on a method of birth control or to discuss your options. Hopefully, this article taught you something new!