Throughout the ages, humans have loved, made love, and strived to control nature before and after the fact. Contraceptive is by no means a modern concept. Nor is trying to escape the hazards of childbirth. Of course, it's much easier nowadays...
It’s interesting to note that the Libyans made great use of a giant fennel plant, silphium. Modern day tests on relatives of this fennel give results of about 50% effectiveness. Silphium was so popular, being exported far and wide, that the particular species used became extinct by 400 C.E. and this possibly had a far greater success rate than the species which survived for our modern tests.
Caesarean section is by no means a modern concept, although the operation wasn’t widely practiced until medicine had evolved to hygienic environments and the use of anaesthetic – mother’s were far too likely to die of shock, infection and internal bleeding during the operation.
As early as 3000 B.C. (Egypt), this operation was mandated to provide separate burials for the mother and babe. In ancient Roman, there was a Law of the Caesars that sometimes prescribed this operation in an attempt to save a baby once the mother was dead. The name Caesarean section likely takes its name from this law rather than the rumour that Julius Caesar had been born by this method.
Progressing into the middle ages, there have been documented cases of caesareans being performed as early as the 1400s in an attempt to save both mother and babe although, as mentioned above, the survival rate would have been poor due to the medicine practices of the time.
Although the first reliable accounting comes from Germany in 1610, there’s mention of a Swiss pork butcher who delivered his own child successfully (using his carving skills) in around 1500.