Effectiveness in Preventing Pregnancy
- Of 100 women who use this method each year, about 17-23 may get pregnant.
- The risk of pregnancy is much greater in women who have given birth vaginally or who do not use the cap consistently and correctly.
- Coat the inside of the cap with spermicide—a special jelly that kills sperm—and put the cap in the vagina, covering the cervix, before having sex.
- It must stay in place at least six hours after sex and no more than 48 hours.
- The cap must fit tightly over the cervix.
Office Visit Required
What is the cervical cap?
The cervical cap is a soft, latex or silicone cup with a round rim which fits snugly around the cervix. Cervical caps are sold under the name FemCap.
How does it work?
The cervical cap is placed inside the vagina and works by covering the cervix to prevent sperm from meeting with and fertilizing an egg. Before it is inserted into the vagina, the inside and outside of the cervical cap must be covered with spermicide, a special jelly that kills sperm. The cap must fit tightly against the cervix to work.
To prevent pregnancy it is important to leave the cervical cap in place at least six hours after having sex, but it must be removed within 48 hours. It is NOT necessary to use more spermicide each time you have sex.
Read more about spermicide Download pdf, (168 kb)
- It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
- A clinic visit and prescription are required.
- It may be hard to put in place or take out.
- Some women experience irritation, or may have an allergic reaction to the spermicide or the cap if it is made of latex.
- If left inside longer than 48 hours, there is a risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). TSS is a rare but serious infection.
- The cervical cap does not work as well in women who have given birth vaginally.