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I have lately been thinking a lot about times when birth control wasn't available and how did people limit their number of kids because I'm not under the impression that NFP has always been something people really knew how to do...does anybody know?
Abstinence, withdrawal, ecological breastfeeding. And of course, different cultures through time have all had their own methods of birth control - some more effective than others. Mostly sexually active people just got pregnant a lot.
Mostly, they didn't. Up until the 1930's, all Christian faiths held the belief that children were blessings and contraception (spilling the seed) was gravely immoral. Those with dire need to avoid pregnancy practiced total abstinence.
Contraceptive devices have been around a long time, since way before Christ even. All kinds of stuff; putting moss in your vagina to act as a sort of barrier, crude condoms, herbal mixtures to cause early miscarriage. These weren't really things that married couples did though (where children were seen as a blessing and large families the norm), it was more prevalent in brothels for example.