The cap is a barrier method of contraception. It is made of rubber or silicone, smaller than the diaphragm, and it covers only the neck of the womb. At the start it needs to be fitted by a doctor or nurse. It must be inserted before intercourse, and must not be left in the vagina for more than 48 hours.
The cap is 92-96% effective with “perfect use” and when used with spermicide. This means that between 4 and 8 women in 100 will get pregnant every year.1
However, because with every day “typical use” it is not always used perfectly, up to 16 women out of 100 in a year will become pregnant.1
- It is an option for women who cannot or do not want to use hormonal contraception
- There are no hormone-related side effects
- You only have to use it when you are having sex
- It is not recommended for all women because it may not fit the neck of the womb properly
- It is less reliable than other methods, particularly in women who have given birth because of the potential change to the woman’s cervix
- You may require practice in using this method
- It can interferes with sexual spontaneity
- It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
You can get a cervical cap from Family Planning Clinics, Well Woman Clinics and some general practices. A trained nurse or doctor must fit it for you. Once you have had a fitting and know your size you can buy additional ones from a pharmacy. Cap fitting is available on the GMS (medical card scheme) but you will have to pay for the device yourself.