Welcome to My Official Web Page!

Welcome to My Official Web Page!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Birth Control in Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egyptian women may have lacked our modern technology, but they got creative when it came to birth control and pregnancy tests.

One popular ancient contraceptive involved soaking cotton in a paste of various ingredients: acacia bark, dates, and honey were popular. This mixture was then inserted into the vagina. The theory goes that it would either act as a physical barrier to conception or possibly alter the pH level to make it lethal to sperm.

Of course, if a woman was really determined, she could resort to a method preserved from the 1850BC Kahun Medical Papyrus. The text instructs women to mix crocodile dung into a vaginal suppository. I'm no doctor, but I'm pretty sure that mixture could be quite pungent effective.

Perhaps our Egyptian lady suspects her crocodile dung birth control failed? If a woman believed she was pregnant and wanted to know the baby's gender, she would plant barley and emmer wheat seeds. Then she would water them with her urine. If the seeds sprouted, she was pregnant. If only the wheat grew she would bear a girl, but if the barley sprouted she could expect a boy. I don't know anyone who's tried this, but I've read a few sources that say it's somewhat accurate. If anyone wants to try it, let me know.

I'm perfectly happy being on the dark on whether the crocodile dung works.