Cervical cap

The cervical cap is a birth control (contraceptive) device that prevents sperm from entering the uterus. The cervical cap is a reusable, deep silicone cup that is inserted into the vagina and fits tightly over the cervix. The cervical cap is held in place by suction and has a strap to help with removal.

The cervical cap is effective at preventing pregnancy only when used with spermicide. Only one cervical cap — FemCap — has Food and Drug Administration approval in the U.S. It must be fitted and prescribed by a health care provider.


Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect

When used with spermicide, the cervical cap helps prevent pregnancy. Among various benefits, the cervical cap:

  • Allows prompt return to fertility
  • Can be used while breast-feeding beginning six weeks after delivery
  • Can be inserted hours before sex and remain in place for up to 48 hours
  • Doesn't require a partner's cooperation
  • Poses few if any side effects

The cervical cap isn't appropriate for everyone, however. Your health care provider may discourage use of the cervical cap if you:

  • Are allergic to spermicide or silicone
  • Are at high risk of or have HIV/AIDS
  • Are at high risk of pregnancy — you're younger than age 30, you have sex three or more times a week, you've had previous contraceptive failure with vaginal barrier methods or you're not likely to consistently use the cervical cap
  • Have vaginal or cervical abnormalities that interfere with the fit, placement or retention of the cervical cap
  • Have vaginal bleeding or a vaginal, cervical or pelvic injury or infection
  • Have a history of pelvic inflammatory disease; toxic shock syndrome; uterine, cervical or vaginal cancer; uterine tract infections; or vaginal or cervical tissue tears
  • Recently gave birth or had a miscarriage or an abortion
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