It has often been said that if men had to bear children, the world would have a very small population. Women are the ones that have to carry a baby for nine months and suffer through labor because they have a stronger constitution! Most women want to have children at some point in their lives, but some have more trouble conceiving than others.
It comes as no surprise that cultures around the world have come up with their own ways to promote fertility amongst their women. After all, the role of giving birth is still a responsibility that is expected of women to carry on the family line. There are various fertility chanting rituals that evoke the spirits of gods who will grant motherhood to a woman, but among the most interesting implementations are the use of symbols.
Take, for example, the Native American cultures in the Southwestern part of the United States. For these tribes, the symbol of Kokopelli, a spirited figure most often playing a flute, indicated fertility. There are many kinds of art that are imbued with this symbol. For example, if a woman sits underneath a painting of Kokopelli, it is thought that she will become pregnant.
African cultures have also used chanting rituals to promote conception, but one of the most interested things that they have done is created statues for just this purpose. The statues can sometimes be quite small (thus representing the fetus) or life-sized. An interesting story that was once presented on the old American television show "Unsolved Mysteries" told of a life-sized African fertility statue that was placed in an office lobby as part of the decoration. Women who accidentally touched the statue became pregnant soon afterwards.
Just as there are ways to promote conception, there are also ways to prevent it. One culture that certainly had an interesting way of preventing pregnancy was the Egyptians. Using a special mixture of herbs inserted as a paste into the vagina, they concocted one of the earliest ways to kill sperm before it reached the uterus.
Then, there were various sexual practices that were used by some cultures, and are still sometimes in use today. The first example is "The Rhythm Method". This is a method that was developed by particularly religious groups who encouraged sex, but warned against being unprepared for parenthood. In this method, the couple avoided actual sexual contact for the certain days each month that the woman was known to be fertile. The results of this method have been mixed, since this method won't work for women who experience irregular menstruation cycles.
Another method that has been used for centuries and is still in use today is referred to as the "Pull Out Method". In this method, the couple has unprotected sex, but then when the man is just about to ejaculate, he withdraws from the vagina. This method is highly discouraged, because some sperm can still get through anyway. So, the most important thing to remember is that birth control pills or abstinence are generally the most successful prevention methods.