The cervical cap is a thimble shaped rubber or plastic cap that fits snugly over the cervix, the end of the uterus that extends into the vagina. The cap blocks sperm from entering the uterus. Usually a small amount of spermicide is used inside the cap to kill any sperm that might get into the cap. A woman needs to be fitted for a cervical cap.
The effectiveness of the cervical cap is comparable to that of the diaphragm. For every 100 women using the diaphragm, about 18 may become pregnant during the first year of use. You may increase protection by checking that the cervix is covered every time you have intercourse and by using condoms and foam.
The cervical cap may be inserted many hours before intercourse.
The cap may be more comfortable for some women than the diaphragm.
The cap may be left in place for up to 3 days.
The cap requires that contraceptive cream or jelly be used only at time of insertion.
The cap can often be used by women whose pelvic muscles cannot hold a diaphragm in place.
Due to limited cap sizes, not all women can be adequately fit with a cervical cap.
Because of individual pelvic differences not all women are able to successfully insert and remove a cervical cap.
The cap is more difficult and time-consuming than the diaphragm for the professional to fit and for the woman to learn to insert and remove.
Some women who use the cap may be more likely to have abnormal cells on their Pap smears.