Table Of Contents
- What is it?
- How do they Prevent Pregnancy?
- What Are the Benefits?
- What Are the Disadvantages?
- How Effective are they?
- How Safe are they?
- How Do I Use Them?
- Tips for Using Them
What is a Cervical Cap?
Cervical cap (popularly branded FemCap), is a small cup shaped object made from silicone. It is inserted deep into the vagina and rests against the cervix to prevent pregnancy. They are a safe and effective means of birth control.
How do they Prevent Pregnancy?
The cap rests against the cervix, forming a barrier which blocks sperm from getting through and causing impregnation. It should be used in conjunction with spermicide in order to immobilize the sperm and further prevent it from travelling through the cervix.
What Are the Benefits?
- Easy to use
- No effect on hormones
- Does not interrupt or interfere with sex as it can be inserted up to 6 hours beforehand
- No prescription required
- Comfortable to the point of not being noticeable for both partners
- A one-time purchase can be used for up to 2 years
- Reversible at any time
What Are the Disadvantages?
A major drawback of the cervical cap is that it cannot be used while a woman is on her period. Given that women can still get pregnant while on their period, women who rely solely on the cap for pregnancy prevention will likely want to abstain from sex or use a different form of birth control during this time.
Effectiveness of the cap is considerably lower for women who have already given birth. For these women, a bigger cap may be required.
The cap can also be pushed out of place if a penis is large enough to come in contact with it or if certain sexual positions are employed.
Furthermore, the cervical cap must be inserted before each instance of sexual intercourse which should be a consideration for those who are fans of spontaneous sexual interactions.
Another important note is that the caps must be used with spermicide, which is an added cost and can cause some irritation and other unwanted side effects in some women.
Finally, some women have trouble reaching far enough into their vagina to insert the cap properly.
How Effective are they?
Among women who have never given birth, 14 out of 100 will become pregnant through the course of a year of using the cervical cap.
Among women who have given birth, 29 out of 100 will become pregnant through the course of a year of using the cap.
How Safe are they?
They are safe to use for most women, however, they can pose risk in certain circumstances.
The cap may not be recommended if a woman’s vagina is compromised in some way including cuts, cancer, recent surgery, reproductive tract infection or weak vaginal muscles. Women who have recently given birth or had an abortion, have a history of toxic shock syndrome, are on their period, or are allergic to spermicide may also want to reconsider using the cap.
How to use them?
- First, ensure that your hands are clean.
- Apply spermicide onto the outside of the cap, on the top and around the upper rim.
- While in a comfortable position, locate your cervix with your fingers so you know where the cervical cap should be placed.
- With one hand, separate the labia, and squeeze the outer rim of the cap together.
- Insert the cap into the vagina with the dome side facing the floor.
- Tuck the cap against the cervix, ensuring the entire cap is covering the cervix completely.
Tips for using
Always use spermicide in tandem with cervical cap usage.
For best results, check to ensure the cap is completely covering the cervix before each instance of sexual intercourse.
Risk of pregnancy can be further decreased by using a condom or pulling out in addition to use of a cap.