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

 
FAQ

Birth Control Options

 

Contraceptive Sponge

The contraceptive sponge is a disposable, soft foam sponge containing spermicide. It is placed into the vagina before sex to prevent pregnancy.



How does it work?

The sponge is placed inside the vagina, over the cervix, where it acts as a barrier. The sponge traps and absorbs the sperm, where they are then disabled by the Spermicide. It is effective for up to 12 hours.



How effective is it?

  • For women who have never given birth, the sponge is 91% effective in preventing pregnancy with perfect use. (84% effective with typical use)
  • For women who have previously given birth, the sponge is only 80% effective with perfect use. (68% effective with typical use)
  • When used with a male condom, the sponge is 98% effective




What are the advantages?

  • Does not contain hormones
  • Can be used by women who smoke or are breastfeeding
  • Provides 12 hour protection
  • Do not need to change the sponge if sex is repeated during the 12 hour time frame
  • Can be used in combination with a male condom to increase contraceptive effectiveness and protection against sexually transmitted infections.
  • Widely available in stores without a prescription and does not require a fitting with a health professional
  • Spermicide may provide added lubricant





What are the disadvantages?

  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
  • Some women may find it difficult to insert or remove the sponge, or may forget to remove it altogether
  • If the sponge is left in the vagina for too long, symptoms of toxic shock syndrome may appear
  • May cause vaginal irritation
  • Cannot be used by people who are allergic to Spermicides
  • Must be available at time of intercourse



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Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
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