How to Put in a Cervical Cap
Cervical caps are bow-shaped silicone barriers that are fitted over the cervix. The cap is always used together with spermicide in order for it to be effective in preventing pregnancy. It is vital that you use and insert a cervical cap correctly for it to be effective in preventing pregnancy.
Inserting the Cap Properly
Wash your hands with mild soap and water.It is important you handle the cervical cap with clean hands. Touching it with dirty hands can introduce harmful microbes to your vagina, which in turn can lead to infection.
- The best way to prevent infection is to use proper hand hygiene when using your cervical cap.
- Apply mild soap to your hands. Rinse off under running water for at least 30 seconds.
- Make sure to dry your hands well before touching the cervical cap.
Check the integrity of the cervical cap.Hold the cap against the light and make sure it does not have any signs of damage. In case of a suspicious tear or hole, discard it immediately and use another one. It is no longer effective in preventing pregnancy.
- The cervical cap can also be filled with water to check whether for leaks. If the cap does not hold water and leaks, it is not safe to use.
Apply spermicidal cream on the cap.Spermicidal creams contain chemicals that kill sperm cells and prevent them from reaching and fertilizing the egg.:
- Different spermicide products are used slightly differently. Always read the instructions before using a product.
- Squeeze about one-quarter teaspoon of spermicide in the dome of the cervical cap.
- Spread the cream over the entire cap as well as on the brim.
- Read the product label whether you need to add more spermicide into your vagina if you have repeated sexual intercourse (you don't have to remove the cap).
- For some spermicides, you need to wait ten minutes before you can have intercourse and they remain effective for one hour after insertion.
Find a comfortable position to locate your cervix.To effectively insert the cervical cap, you can stand with one foot resting on a chair, lie down with knees bent and feet apart, or squat down. Find the best method for you and use that every time when inserting the cervical cap.
- Once situated, locate and get familiar with your cervix (the opening that leads to your uterus). It is found at the end of your vaginal canal.
- When you have reached the end of the vagina to the opening of the cervix, the size of the vaginal canal will decrease and you will be able to feel the walls of the cervix and its spindle shape. This is where you need to insert the cap.
Insert the cervical cap.To insert, start by using your non-dominant hand to separate your labia and expose the vagina. Your dominant hand should squeeze the cap to make it smaller and facilitate easy insertion.
- Note that the cervical cap’s dome should be facing outside. Imagine that you are wearing a cap. Your cervix is the head while the device is your cap.
- Once the cap is inside and you released it, it will expand and assume its original shape before it was squeezed.
- Use your middle and/or index finger to further push the cervical cap inside until you feel that the cap is securely resting on the cervix.
- The cervical cap is easier to insert before sexual arousal when the cervix is still firm.
Check the placement of the cervical cap.You can use your finger to push against the dome of the cap to see if it is in the right place. You should be able to feel your cervix against the dome.
- The cervical cap has a suction mechanism once it is properly inserted. You can be sure that the cap is securely in place when you feel this.
- Try to move around and see whether it is snugly fitted on your cervix. If it's not, simply adjust until it is.
Wash your hands with mild soap and water.After you have inserted the cervical cap, wash your hands once again to remove any residual spermicide and bodily fluids.
- Do not use the cervical cap during your period as this interferes with the natural flow.
Removing and Caring for the Cap
Keep the cap in for at least six hours after intercourse.The cervical cap should be inserted before sexual intercourse and it should stay on the cervix for at least six hours after. If it is taken out too soon, there is a risk of some sperm cells surviving and being able to fertilize the egg.
- You should not leave the cervical cap in place for more than 48 hours as this can lead to toxic shock syndrome.
Wash your hands with mild soap and warm water.As before inserting the cervical cap, it is important you wash your hands before removing a cervical cap.
- Always wash your hands before and after touching bodily fluids. This includes before insertion, after insertion, before removal, and after removal of the cervical cap.
Find a comfortable position.As with inserting the cap, you should find a comfortable position to remove the cap. You can squat, stand with one foot on a chair, or lie down with legs apart and knees bent.
- Try a few different positions to find the one that works best for you.
Locate and remove the cervical cap.Use your non-dominant hand to separate the labia and expose the vagina. Use your dominant fingers to locate the cervical cap.
- After you locate the cervical cap, place your finger inside the removal strap and rotate. Then push the dome to break the suction.
- Grab the removal strap with your finger and pull out the cap.
Wash the cervical cap with soap and water.A cervical cap is reusable for up to one year as long as it is not torn or broken. It is important you wash it after removal to ensure it maintains proper hygiene and integrity.
- Wash the cap with mild soap and warm water to remove any bodily fluids and spermicide.
- Air-dry the cervical cap and never use a towel. When using a towel you risk transferring fibers or residue to the cap, which can ultimately make it dirty again and lead to quicker deterioration.
Store the cervical cap in its container.This prevents tears and contamination with infectious agents. Storing the cap in the container also keeps it away from light and makes it last longer.
- Baby powder, petroleum jelly, and oil lubricants should not be used on the cap. This is because these substances can make the cap brittle and weak. In addition, vaginal creams should not be used on the cap because they can damage it and cause infections.
- If you take good care of it, a cervical cap could last for up to a year.
Using Your Cap Effectively
Get your cervical cap sized.It is important you use a cervical cap that is the right size to ensure comfort and efficacy. Cervical cap forms a physical barrier over the cervix. That prevents sperm from entering. If that barrier is not properly sized, it will not work efficiently.
- Cervical caps (brand name FemCap) are available in 3 sizes: rim diameter 22 mm, 26 mm, and 30 mm.
- The smallest diameter cap (22 mm) is intended for women who have never delivered a baby or been pregnant.
- The medium diameter cap (26 mm) is intended for women who have been pregnant (even for a short duration of time) but have not delivered vaginally.
- The largest diameter cap (30 mm) is intended for women who have delivered a full-term baby vaginally.
Use a condom to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.The cervical cap does not offer any protection against sexually transmitted diseases and infections. Because of this, it is highly advisable you and your partner use a condom to prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
- The cervical cap only helps prevent pregnancy when used together with a spermicidal cream. However, it does not protect you or your partner against STDs.
- Latex condoms can prevent the transfer of STDs when used properly during oral, vaginal and anal sex.
- Use a condom when engaging sex with multiple partners or if you and your partner have not been tested for STDs.
- However, never use a condom that has not been stored properly or is damaged. Also, condoms made of natural membranes may not be as effective as latex condoms.
Learn about the cap so you can use it better.Knowing as much information about the cervical cap or any other contraceptive will allow you to use it properly and identify any problems or concerns.
- The cervical cap is available by prescription only.
- It comes in 3 sizes and you should only use the size that is correct for you.
- The cervical cap should always be used together with spermicidal cream or gel to prevent pregnancy. When used properly, it provides a physical and spermicidal barrier that prevents sperm cells from entering the uterus and fertilizing an egg.
- Never use a cervical cap that is broken and use emergency contraception if you find the cap to be torn when you remove it.
- You should leave the cap on for at least 6 hours after having intercourse but never use it for more than 48 hours.
- The cervical cap can be inserted ahead of time but its application and removal can be cumbersome.
- The only brand of cervical cap being used in the United States is the FemCap. It has a removal strap on top of the dome for easy removal and a brim folded upwards to further prevent sperm cells from getting into the uterus.
- When using a cervical cap, you have an increased risk of vaginal candidiasis and bacterial vaginosis.
- Cervical caps do not prevent STDs.
Know that cervical caps are more effective for women without children.When it comes to effectiveness, the cervical cap is known to be more effective when used by women who have never given birth.
- Cervical caps are 84-91% effective at preventing pregnancy for women who have never given birth.
- They are 68-74% effective for women who have given birth.
- To increase the effectiveness of the cervical cap, it is suggested that couples should use other birth control methods as well. For example, men can use latex condoms or practice the withdrawal method.
Video: Use Cervical Cap And Avoid Pregnancy - Manipal Hospitals
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