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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

 
FAQ

Birth Control Options

 

Cervical Cap

What is it?


The cervical cap is a reusable barrier method of birth control that fits inside the vagina. It is a thimble-shaped silicone cap that fits snugly over the cervix, preventing sperm from getting inside.

  • The cervical cap should always be used with a spermicide
  • Women must have the cervical cap properly fitted by a health professional. This ensures the correct size so it will stay in place.




How does it work?

When positioned properly, the cervical cap places a physical barrier between the sperm and the cervix so that the sperm cannot reach the egg. The spermicide works to destroy sperm on contact.

  • The cervical cap must be left in the vagina for 6- 8 hours after sex
  • After use, the cervical cap can be washed with mild soap and water, air dried and stored in its case away from excessive heat and light
  • Before each use it should be inspected for any small holes or tears
  • If properly cared for, most cervical caps will last for 1 to 2 years




How effective is it?

There is a difference in effectiveness when used by women who have already given birth and women who have not:

  • For women who have not given birth, the cervical cap is 91% effective with perfect use. With typical use, it is about 80% effective in preventing pregnancy.
  • For women who have previously given birth, the cervical cap is significantly less effective: 74% effective with perfect use, and 60% effective with typical use.

 

What are the advantages?

  • Reusable
  • Does not contain hormones
  • Provides some protection against certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Can be used in combination with a male condom to increase birth control effectiveness and to protect against STIs
  • Offers women privacy and control because it can be inserted up to 6 hours before sex




What are the disadvantages?

  • Requires proper insertion technique
  • Cannot be used by people who are allergic to spermicides
  • Does not protect against certain sexually transmitted infections
  • Should not be used during menstruation (period)
  • May cause vaginal odour and discharge
  • In rare cases, the cervical cap may cause toxic shock syndrome if it is not removed within 48 hours
  • May become dislodged during intercourse (See Emergency Contraception)
  • Must be fitted and prescribed by a health professional



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Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
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