Cervical Cap Contraceptive – Find My Method

Last modified on March 3rd, 2021

  • Immediately effective. It has no hormones and can be inserted up to 6 hours before sex.
  • Effectiveness: the cervical cap is not the most effective method. It works best with spermicide. With common use, only 71 to 86 individuals of every 100 will manage to prevent pregnancy using this method.
  • Side effects: usually no side effects. Some women might experience irritation or discomfort
  • Effort: high. It needs to be in place every time you have sex
  • Doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


Cervical Cap Contraceptive

Cervical Cap Summary

A cervical cap is a silicone cup you insert in your vagina. It covers your cervix and keeps sperm out of your uterus. You need to use a cervical cap with spermicide for it to be most effective.


Questions? Visit our FAQs section


You have not had a baby yet. Cervical caps are more effective if you have not given birth.

You would not mind getting pregnant. The failure rate for “typical use” of the cervical cap can range from 14-29%. Try another method if an accidental pregnancy is not acceptable for you right now.

Comfortable with your body. If you are not comfortable putting your fingers inside yourself, then consider a different method.

It takes discipline. You need to remember to insert your cervical cap every time you have sex. It takes a bit of self-discipline and planning. You can carry it with you if you want, which may make it easier to remember.

You do not have sex often. Inserting a cervical cap can take some time. It is not a great option if you have sex regularly. If you have sex only once or twice a week then it may be a good option. You can put it in and leave it in for up to 48 hours.

Allergy issues. If you are allergic to silicone or {spermicide}, you should not use a cervical cap.

The pregnancy question. You will be able to get pregnant as soon as you stop using the cervical cap. So protect yourself with another method right away if you are not ready to get pregnant.

How To Use

You can put in the cervical cap hours before sex, and should be in before you are turned on. You need to leave it in for 6 hours after you have sex. If you are going to have sex again that day, leave the cervical cap in place and insert more spermicide. Do not leave your cap in for more than 48 hours.


How to put it in:

Inserting a cervical cap sounds more difficult than it is. It gets easier with practice.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water. Let them air dry.
  2. Check your cervical cap for holes and weak spots. Filling it with clean water is a good way to check – if it leaks, there is a hole.
  3. Put a 1-2 mL or so of spermicide in the dome of the cup. Spread some around the rim too.
  4. Flip it over to the side with the removal strap and put another 2-3 mL in the indentation between the brim and the dome.
  5. Sit or stand, but spread your legs.
  6. Put your index and middle fingers into your vagina. Feel for your cervix, so you know where to place the cap.
  7. Separate the outer lips of your vagina with one hand. Use the other hand to squeeze the rim of the cap together.
  8. Slide the cap in the dome side down, with the long brim first.
  9. Push down toward your anus, then up and onto your cervix. Make sure your cervix is fully covered.


How to take it out:

You need to remove it 6 hours after you have sex. Here is how:

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water. Let them air dry.
  2. Squat down. Put a finger inside your vagina. Get a hold of the removal strap, and rotate the cap.
  3. Push on the dome a bit with your finger to break the suction.
  4. Hook your finger under the strap and pull the cap out.


Still having trouble? You might want to consider switching to another method.

Take good care of your cap, and it will last up to two years.

  • After you take it out, wash it with mild soap and warm water.
  • Let it air dry.
  • Do not use powders on your cap – they could cause infection.
  • And do not worry if it becomes discolored. It will still work.


Tips and Tricks: if you are going to have sex more than once in a day, check the placement of the cap and use more spermicide.

Side Effects

Everyone is different. What you experience may not be the same thing as another person.

The Positive:

  • You can insert your cervical cap hours ahead of time
  • You can have sex as many times as you like while it is in, as long as you keep adding spermicide
  • Neither you nor your partner should be able to feel it
  • It is hormone-free
  • No prescription necessary
  • You can use it while breastfeeding

The Negative:

  • Some women have a hard time inserting it
  • Can cause vaginal irritation
  • Some women may get frequent urinary tract infections
  • You have to use it every time you have sex, no matter what
  • You should not use the cervical cap if you are allergic to spermicide or silicone.
  • It can get pushed out of place by large penises, heavy thrusting, or certain sexual positions
  • Hard to remember to use if you are drunk


[1] FPA the sexual health charity. (2015). Your guide to diaphragms and caps. Retrieved from https://www.fpa.org.uk/sites/default/files/diaphragms-and-caps-your-guide.pdf
[2] Shoupe, D. (2016). Barrier Contraceptives: Male Condoms, Vaginal Spermicides, and Cervical Barrier Methods. En D. Shoupe, The Handbook of Contraception: A Guide for Practical Management. Retrieved from http://eknygos.lsmuni.lt/springer/677/147-177.pdf
[3] Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada. (2015). Canadian Contraception Consensus Chapter 5: Barrier Methods. JOGC Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada , 37. Retrieved from https://www.jogc.com/article/S1701-2163(16)39376-8/pdf
[4] World Health Organization Department of Reproductive Health and Research and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (2018) Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers. Baltimore and Geneva. Retrieved from https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/260156/9780999203705-eng.pdf?sequence=1
[5] World Health Organization. (2016). Selected practice recommendations for contraceptive use. Geneva. Retrieved from https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/252267/9789241565400-eng.pdf?sequence=1

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