Everything You Need to Know about Cervical Caps


Although cervical caps date back to the 19th century, they are still widely used in the US and Europe. Arguably, their primary benefit is their simplicity and convenience, making them a go-to choice for birth control.

Of course, they’re not as popular as condoms or contraceptive pills. Still, they remain a viable solution for non-hormonal contraception. If you’re wondering whether a cervical cap would protect you from conceiving, here’s what you need to know:

What is a cervical cap?

In simple terms, a cervical cap is a small, bowl-shaped tool used to prevent pregnancy. Usually, it’s made of silicone or latex, materials suitable for prolonged insertion into the vagina. The primary purpose of the cap is to cover the opening to the uterus called the cervix. Cervical caps are an alternative to other barrier methods, such as condoms and diaphragms.

How does a cervical cap work?

As already mentioned, cervical caps work by covering the cervix. During sex, sperm are released into the vagina. The cervical cap is a barrier that prevents sperm from entering the uterus and fertilizing an egg.

Since they are silicone or latex, they don’t harm the vagina and can be left in place for up to 48 hours. When used consistently and correctly, cervical caps are an effective method of birth control, with a success rate of up to 84%.

Typically, cervical caps are given by the healthcare provider. In most cases, this happens after the specialist takes measurements of the cervix to ensure that the cervical cap fits properly. Once the cervical cap is fitted, it can be inserted into the vagina up to 48 hours before sexual intercourse. Keep in mind that the cap must remain in place for at least 6 hours after intercourse.

How to use a cervical cap?

Using cervical caps is a hassle-free procedure that does not require special qualifications. However, there are some steps that you must follow strictly to ensure the product provides optimal safety during sex. Here’s how to use a cervical cap properly:

  1. Remove the cervical cap from its packaging while ensuring your hands are properly sanitized.
  2. Place the cap over the tip of your index finger by squeezing its sides together.
  3. Find a comfortable position and relax your vaginal muscles.
  4. Insert the cervical cap with the rounded side facing down and the pointed side facing up.
  5. Ensure that the cervical cap is fully seated in your vagina and that the edges are flush against the cervix.
  6. Leave the cervical cap for at least 6 hours after sexual intercourse.
  7. Remove the cervical in the same manner. Don’t forget to wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly before the procedure.

It is important to note that when inserting a cervical cap, you must ensure it completely covers the cervix. Also, you must be aware that this contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In this regard, it’s best to use cervical caps with a condom.

What are the benefits and risks of using cervical caps?

While cervical caps might be an unusual means of contraception, they may have some benefits. If you’re wondering whether you should use them, here are the most notable pros and cons of using a cervical cap:

Benefits of using cervical caps

  • Highly Effective – Cervical caps are an effective method of birth control, with a success rate of up to 84% when used consistently and correctly.
  • Convenient – Cervical caps can be inserted up to 48 hours before sexual intercourse.
  • Easy to use – Caps are relatively easy to use and do not require a prescription.
  • They are non-hormonal – There are no side effects, such as weight gain or changes in mood.
  • No interruption during sex – Cervical caps do not interrupt sexual intercourse, as they are inserted before sexual activity.

Risks of using cervical caps

  • Require proper fitting – Cervical caps must be fitted by a healthcare provider to ensure they fit correctly.
  • May be less effective for some women – Cervical caps may be less effective for women who have given birth or had a previous cesarean section.
  • Unreliable against STIs – Cervical caps do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and may require condoms.

Final Thoughts

To conclude, cervical caps are one of the less-known methods of contraception during sex. Still, they are a safe and effective solution for birth control. While they do not provide the highest effectiveness, they are still affordable and efficient when used correctly. 

If you are considering using a cervical cap, you must talk to your healthcare provider to determine if it is the right choice. Moreover, you will get more detailed information on how to use the particular product. Ultimately, you’ll learn about any potential risks or side effects, if there are any.


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