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Cervical caps work best when used correctly every time you have sex, which is difficult for some people to do. Also, spermicide can have side effects.

You have to use it every time you have sex.

In order for your cervical cap to work as well as possible, you have to use it every time you have vaginal sex — and you have to use it correctly.

If you’re not sure that you’ll be able to use your cervical cap every single time you have vaginal sex, there are plenty of other types of birth control out there that are easier to use and offer better protection against pregnancy (like IUDs and implants). Take this quiz to find a method that’s best for you.

Remember: whatever kind of birth control you’re on, using condoms or female condoms every time you have sex is the best way to lower your chances of getting STDs. And using condoms along with another birth control method also gives you extra pregnancy protection. Yay!

Cervical caps can be hard to use correctly.

Some people have trouble inserting their cervical cap, and it can take practice to get comfortable doing it.

Cervical caps can get moved out of place during sex if they get bumped around a lot.

Also, cervical caps don’t work as well if you don’t stay on top of the spermicide situation. You have to make sure you put your cervical cap-plus-spermicide in before sex, and leave it in for at least 6 hours after sex. If you have sex again while it’s in, you have to put more spermicide in your vagina. Don’t leave your cervical cap in for more than 2 days (48 hours).

Spermicide may have side effects.

If you use spermicide more than a few times a day, it can irritate your vagina and increase your risk of getting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Here’s more info on the risks of spermicide.

If you notice that your vagina feels sore or irritated, you could be sensitive to the spermicide or the material that your cervical cap is made of. Talk to your doctor if your cervical cap or spermicide is causing you problems.

Size matters.

Cervical caps come in different sizes, and so do our bodies. Changes in your body over time can mess up the fit of your cervical cap. You have to get refitted for a new size if you have a baby, miscarriage, or abortion.

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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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