Family Planning: A Century of Change

Jacqueline E. Darroch

in Silent Victories

Published in print December 2006 | ISBN: 9780195150698
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865185 | DOI:
 Family Planning: A Century of Change

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As the 20th century dawned, American women typically became biologically capable of conceiving children at age fifteen, were married at age twenty-two, and had an average of 3.6 children during their reproductive lives. In contrast, for women born during the last third of the 1900s experienced menarche at age thirteen, first engaged in sexual intercourse at age seventeen, and had an average of 2.1 children. These changes during the 20th century reflect the technologic changes in family-planning methods available to American women and men increasing couples' ability to successfully control the number and timing of children, increased women's control over fertility, and gave rise to alternative medical provider networks for women's reproductive-health care. This chapter summarizes key changes in family planning over the last century and provides an overview of changes in contraceptive technology and in the provision of reproductive health and contraceptive services.

Keywords: 20th century; public health; reproductive health; fertility; sexual intercourse; contraception; contraceptive technology; family planning; marriage

Chapter.  10861 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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