The cervical cap is a birth control (contraceptive) device that prevents sperm from entering the uterus. The cervical cap is a reusable, deep silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina and fits tightly over the cervix. The cervical cap is held in place by suction and has a strap to help with removal. The cervical cap is effective at preventing pregnancy only when used with spermicide.
Only one cervical cap — FemCap — has Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the U.S. It must be fitted and prescribed by a doctor, but can be purchased online if you have a current prescription.
A cervical cap is a reusable rubber cup that fits tightly over the cervix. The cervical cap is inserted into the vagina with spermicide before sex to prevent pregnancy.
When used with spermicide, the cervical cap helps prevent pregnancy. Among various benefits, the cervical cap:
The cervical cap isn't appropriate for everyone, however. Your health care provider may discourage use of the cervical cap if you:
The cervical cap doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
An estimated 16 out of 100 women who've never been pregnant or given birth vaginally will become pregnant during the first year of typical use of the cervical cap. An estimated 32 out of 100 women who've given birth vaginally will become pregnant during the first year of typical use. This difference is due to the fact that the vagina and cervix are stretched by giving birth vaginally, which means the cervical cap may not fit as well.
Inconsistent or incorrect use of the cervical cap increases your risk of pregnancy. For example, you may get pregnant when using the cervical cap if:
Spermicide applied to the cervical cap may damage the cells lining the vagina, causing:
Contact your health care provider if:
The cervical cap comes in different sizes. Your health care provider will fit you for the cervical cap and demonstrate how to insert and remove the cap. He or she may confirm that the cervical cap is in the correct position by doing a pelvic exam.
Make sure you regularly check your cervical cap for wear, holes or discoloration and replace your cervical cap each year. You may need to have your cervical cap refitted after childbirth. Always use the cervical cap with spermicide. Don't wear the cervical cap during any kind of vaginal bleeding, including your period.
Before you use the cervical cap for the first time, practice inserting the cap and checking its placement. Use a backup method of contraception, such as a male condom, the first few times you use the cervical cap.
To use a cervical cap:
Insert the cervical cap. Insert the cervical cap into your vagina before sexual arousal to ensure proper placement. Find a comfortable position, such as squatting. Separate your labia with one hand. With the other hand, hold the cervical cap with the bowl facing upward and squeeze the rim of the cervical cap between your thumb and index finger.
Slide the cervical cap into your vagina — making sure the taller brim of the cervical cap enters your vagina first. Push the cervical cap along the rear wall of your vagina as far as it will go. Use your finger to locate your cervix and press the rim of the cervical cap around the cervix until you've completely covered it.
Gently remove the cervical cap. After sex, leave the cervical cap in place for at least six hours and up to two days. To remove the cervical cap, squat, bear down and rotate the cap. Relax your muscles and push up on the dome of the cervical cap to break the seal.
Grasp the removal strap and gently pull. Be careful not to scratch your vagina. After removal, wash the cervical cap with mild soap and warm water and let it air-dry. Store the cervical cap in its provided container.
Before sex, the cervical cap is inserted into the vagina along with spermicide. The cervical cap covers the cervix and is held in place by suction.