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The cervical cap is pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it — practice makes perfect! Your nurse or doctor will show you how to use your cervical cap.

How do I insert my cervical cap?

It may take some practice to get the hang of inserting your cervical cap. Your nurse or doctor will show you how to put your cervical cap in, and there are also instructions that come with the packaging.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Put 1/4 teaspoon of spermicide in the cup and spread a thin layer on the flat part of the brim.
  • Put 1/2 teaspoon of spermicide in the groove between the brim and the dome.
  • Spread the spermicide in a thin layer on the brim of the cap.
  • Get into a comfortable position, like when you’re putting in a tampon. You can stand with one foot on a chair, sit on the edge of a chair, lie down, or squat — whatever works for you.
  • Separate the lips of your vulva with one hand.
  • Squeeze the rim of your cap with your other hand and insert it so the side with the dome and the strap faces down. The long brim goes into your vagina first.
  • Push the cap deep into your vagina.
  • Once your cervical cap is in place, make sure your cervix is covered.

How long do I leave my cervical cap in?

Always leave your cervical cap in place for at least 6 hours after the last time you had sex — but don’t leave it in for more than 2 days (48 hours). If you have sex again you can leave your cervical cap in, but put a new dose of spermicide into your vagina.

How do I remove my cervical cap?

Taking out your cap is a little easier than putting it in! Here’s what to do:

  • Squat down. Using your fingers, push against the dome to break the suction.
  • Hook your finger under the strap and gently pull the cap down and out.

How do I take care of my cervical cap?

Here's how to keep your cervical cap in tip-top shape:

  • After you take it out, wash it with soap and warm water.
  • Let it air dry.
  • Don't use powder on your cervical cap — it can lead to infections.
  • Store your cervical cap away from extreme heat or cold.

Take a good look at your cervical cap every now and then. Hold it up to the light and check it for holes, cracks, wrinkles, or weak spots. You can also fill the cup of your cervical cap with water to test for leaks. If you spot something that looks off, talk to your doctor about getting a new one. In the meantime, use another type of birth control, like condoms, or wait to have sex.

Your cervical cap may change color a little bit, but it’s still safe to use.

More questions from patients:

Can you use a cervical cap during your period?

No. Don’t use a cervical cap during your period. Using a cervical cap during your period increases your risk of developing toxic shock syndrome. Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but very dangerous overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. So use a backup birth control method — like condoms — during your period.

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Cervical Cap

  • 71-86% effective

  • Costs up to $90, but can be $0

  • Prescription required

  • Put it in before sex

Cervical caps don’t protect you from STDs. Use a condom with your cervical cap to help stop pregnancy and STDs.
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