Cervical Cap

Quick Facts

Least effective
Doesn’t reduce your chance of getting an STI
Doesn’t work as well if you have given birth
Hormone free
Needs to stay in for 6 hours after sex

A beige dome shaped cervical cap with a tube of spermicidal cream next to it.

More About the Cervical Cap

The cervical cap is a silicon thimble-shaped cup that you put in the vagina to cover the cervix (the opening of your uterus). It comes in 3 sizes and you will need a prescription to get one. Your clinician will give you an exam and tell you which size is best for you. Once in, it works right away. It blocks sperm from getting into the uterus. To increase the efficacy of the cervical cap, use it with spermicide to kill sperm.

How to Use the Cervical Cap

  • You need to be okay touching yourself since you will need to put it into the vagina. Practice putting it in and taking it out before you use it.
  • You can put it in several hours before sex. It doesn’t need to interrupt the heat of the moment.
  • You need to have it with you.
  • You must leave it in place for at least 6 hours after the last time you have sex. It can stay in up to 48 hours.
  • After taking it out, wash it with soap and water and let it dry.
  • Check it for small holes or tears before and after you use it.
Showing the steps of how to fill a cervical cap with spermicide on both sides then inserting it into the vagina to cover the cervix.
Put spermicide in both sides of the cervical cap and spread some around the rim. Find your cervix with your fingers. Use your fingers to place the cap in your vagina, totally covering your cervix.
Orange donut chart showing 83%. The title says "83% effective with typical use"


  • It’s 83% effective with typical use. This means that 17 out of 100 people who use this method will get pregnant in a year.
  • You can improve its effectiveness by using it with another method, such as condoms or withdrawal.
  • It’s reusable with proper care but must be replaced once a year.


  • It can be put in hours in advance. It doesn’t need to interrupt the heat of the moment.
  • You can have sex as many times as you’d like—up to 2 days—while it’s in. Just add more spermicide!
  • You and your partner shouldn’t be able to feel it.
  • It’s hormone free.
  • It can be used while breastfeeding.
  • People with high blood pressure and diabetes can use it.

Side Effects and Limitations

  • You can’t use it if you are allergic to silicone or spermicide.
  • For some people, it might be hard to put in and take out.
  • Spermicide may irritate the vagina or lead to urinary tract infections.
  • You cannot use it when on your period.
  • You must have it with you and be able to put it in!
  • You need to use it every time you have sex.
  • It does not reduce your chance of getting HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 

Family PACT Coverage

If you are eligible, Family PACT covers the cost of cervical caps. A provider can help you decide if a cervical cap is the best option for you.

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