Last modified on March 3rd, 2021
The sponge is a round piece of white plastic foam. It has a dimple on one side and a nylon loop across the top. It is 5 cm across, and you insert it into your vagina before you have sex. The sponge works in two ways: it keeps sperm from getting into your uterus by blocking your cervix, and also continuously releases spermicide.
Good option if you do not mind getting pregnant. Most people do not use the sponge correctly, so women often wind up pregnant. If you do not want to get pregnant or have a baby, think about using a different method.
You are comfortable with your body. If you are not okay with putting your fingers inside yourself, the sponge is not the best option for you. It is a lot like putting in a tampon, though: if you can do that, you can probably manage the sponge.
It takes discipline. You have to remember to insert the sponge every time you have sex. You will need a bit of self-discipline and planning. But at least you can carry it with you if you want.
Allergies? You should not use the sponge if you are allergic to sulfa drugs, polyurethane, or spermicide.
The pregnancy question. The sponge has no hormones, so you will be able to get pregnant as soon as you stop using the sponge. Protect yourself with another method if you stop using the sponge and do not want to get pregnant.
Availability. Would you like to use this method? Check out the “Methods in my country” section to learn what is available
You can insert the sponge up to 24 hours before you have sex. It does take a bit of practice to use it correctly, so follow these instructions.
How to put it in:
How to take it out:
Tips and tricks
The sponge needs to be completely wet to activate the spermicide. Make sure to squeeze it to distribute the water.
Everyone is different. What you experience may not be the same thing as another person.
Failure rates vary wildly with the sponge. It can depend on whether or not you have had a kid. For women who have not given birth, the failure rate is 9% for perfect use, and 16% for the typical way people use it. For women who have already had kids, the failure rate is higher – 20% for perfect use and 32% for real-world use.
 CHIJIOKE, M. K. (2016). SPERMICIDES AND DIAPHRAGMS. UNIVERSITY OF BENIN CITY: DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION. Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/24646826/SPERMICIDES_AND_DIAPHRAGMS
 Mayer Laboratories, Inc. (2018). Drug facts: TODAY VAGINAL CONTRACEPTIVE- nonoxynol-9 sponge. Retrieved from https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/getFile.cfm?setid=6b4e54d7-6ba8-4400-bd52-75d112e6fe50&type=pdf&name=6b4e54d7-6ba8-4400-bd52-75d112e6fe50
 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
 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
 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
 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
 Xia, et al. (2020). DL-Mandelic acid exhibits high sperm-immobilizing activity and low vaginalirritation: A potential non-surfactant spermicide for contraception. Elsevier Masson. Retrieved from https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0753332220302961?token=063F3CA5FE829FE276755EF2EE8152EBC11B2906592153330A395D73878C354BC3E701A06960C98C04FA57B0D8AB401A