A cervical cap is a barrier contraception method. It’s a soft rubber cap with a round rim that fits snugly around the cervix. The only cervical cap available in the United States is the FemCap, a non-hormonal, latex-free device made of silicone, a nonallergenic, easy-to-clean material.
How is it Used?
The cap is placed inside the vagina to cover the cervix. It stays in place by suction and has a strap to assist its removal. Adding spermicide to the cap’s rim increases its effectiveness.
The cervical cap blocks the entrance to the uterus; the spermicide kills and immobilizes the sperm, preventing it from fertilizing the egg. As with a diaphragm, you have to reapply new spermicide to the cap each time you have sex.
The cervical cap must be left in place for at least six hours after last intercourse before removing.
Does it Protect Against STIs?
STI stands for sexually transmitted infection. STI risk varies depending on how you choose to protect yourself and your partner during sexual or intimate activities.
The cervical cap protects against certain STIs, including gonorrhea and chlamydia, but does not protect against others, such as HIV and herpes.
Does it Protect Against Pregnancy?
Yes. The chances of getting pregnant while using a cervical cap are:
- Typical use: 10 percent
- Perfect use: 4 percent
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Unlike the diaphragm, the cervical cap protects against pregnancy for two days (48 hours) and for multiple acts of intercourse within that time frame.
- When placed appropriately, the cervical cap is often not felt by either partner during sexual intercourse.
- The cervical cap is more difficult for women to learn to insert and remove than the diaphragm.
- If worn for more than two days (48 hours), you run the risk of toxic shock syndrome or unpleasant vaginal odor and discharge.
- Mild allergic reactions to the silicone or spermicide occasionally occur.
Things to Remember
- Cervical caps must be fitted by clinicians and purchased from a drugstore or clinic. There are three different sizes.
- Cost of purchase is covered by Medicaid.
Last Reviewed: January 2019