|Where Women Have No Doctor - A Health Guide for Women (Hesperian Foundation, 1997, 600 p.)|
|Chapter 13: Family Planning|
Every community has traditional methods to prevent or stop pregnancy. Many of these can be very useful in limiting the number of children a couple has, although they are usually not as effective as modern methods. But some traditional methods are not effective at all, and some can even be very harmful.
TRADITIONAL METHODS THAT WORK
Withdrawal or pulling out (coitus interruptus). With this method, a man pulls his penis out of the woman and away from her genitals before he ejaculates. This method is better than no method, but it does not always work. Sometimes a man is not able to pull out before he ejaculates. Even if the man pulls out in time, some liquid that contains sperm can leak out of his penis before ejaculation and cause pregnancy.
Separating partners after childbirth. In many communities, couples do not have sex for months or years after the birth of a baby. This allows the mother to give more time to the care of the new baby and to regain her strength without fear of pregnancy.
TRADITIONAL METHODS THAT DO NOT WORK OR THAT CAN BE HARMFUL
· Omens and magic do not prevent pregnancy.
· Putting grasses, leaves, pods, and dung in the vagina can cause infection and irritation.
· Washing out the vagina (douching) with herbs or powders does not prevent pregnancy. Sperm move very fast and some will reach the inside of the womb before they can be washed out.
· Urinating after sex does not prevent pregnancy. (But it can help to prevent infections of the urine system.)