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Best Pract Res Clin Obstet Gynaecol. 2009 Apr;23(2):165-76. doi: 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2008.11.002. Epub 2009 Jan 25.

Contraception in historical and global perspective.

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Centre for Population Studies, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 49-51 Bedford Square, London, UK.


This chapter describes the rise in contraceptive practice and fall in fertility from around 1880 to the present day. Two main phases are identified: the first confined to European populations and involving methods of low efficacy, and the second embracing the whole planet involving modern methods. Today, sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where low levels of contraceptive use and high fertility persist. Nevertheless, nearly half of pregnancies worldwide are still unintended, and much scope remains for improvement in contraceptive protection. The main international priority is Africa, where demographic factors jeopardize the goals of reducing poverty and hunger.

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