African indigenous contraception: A review

Molelekwa A Moroole, Simeon A Materechera, Wilfred Otang-Mbeng, Adeyemi O Aremu


In Africa, indigenous methods of contraception continue to play a significant role in preventing unwanted pregnancies despite the introduction and popularity of modern contraceptives. The current review identified the common techniques and practices of African indigenous contraception, and examined their mechanisms and reasons for use. We searched data bases such as Google Scholar, Scopus, Web of Science, EBSCohost, African Journals, Science Direct, textbooks, thesis and dissertations for research articles on African indigenous contraception. The six common techniques of African indigenous contraception included periodic abstinence, withdrawal, breastfeeding, use of herbs, postpartum abstinence and waist bands, whilst practices relate to child (birth) spacing, postponement of first birth (virginity), stopping of reproduction and indigenous emergency contraception. Mother and infant health was stated as one of the reasons for using African indigenous contraception. African indigenous contraception continues to play a critical reproductive role in preventing unwanted pregnancies. However, there is lack of clarity regarding mechanisms, the safety, and efficacy of some techniques. (Afr J Reprod Health 2020; 24[4]: 173-184).

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