A cervical cap is a silicone cup you insert in your vagina to cover your cervix and keep sperm out of your uterus. The “cap” part of the name is pretty dead on—the thing looks like a little rubber sailor’s hat, maybe an inch and a half wide and one inch high. There’s only one brand of cervical cap available in the U.S. today, and it’s jauntily named the FemCap. One super important thing to remember: You need to use a cervical cap with spermicide for it to be most effective.
Manufacturers recommend that you replace your cervical cap once a year, so if you don’t have insurance, you’ll have to pay for this method annually.####Prices: * **This method may be [free or low-cost for you](/free_birth_control)** * **With Medicaid:** Free * **With insurance:** Depending on your income, you may be able to go to [a low-cost clinic](/free_birth_control) to get the cervical cap at reduced cost. * **Without insurance:** According to Planned Parenthood, the exam can cost from $0 to $200. [The retail cost of the cap is $89, or you can get a two-pack for $130](http://femcap.com/faqs/how-much-does-the-femcap-cost/). To see how this translates over a year, here’s what it would cost to pay for a cervical cap month-to-month at full price: * **Cost per month over one year:** $0 - $24 * **Payment assistance:** Check with [your local family planning clinics](/where_to_get_it) and find out if they offer free or low cost birth control (most do).
How to Use It
A cervical cap can be inserted hours before sex and should be in before you're turned on, so it won't get in the way of the moment. But you have to be sure to leave it in for six hours after you have sex. If you're going to have sex again that day, leave the cervical cap in place and insert more spermicide way up in your vagina (Gynol II comes with an applicator that makes this easier, but any kind of contraceptive gel or spermicide will do except for the film or insert/suppository types). And don't leave your cap in for more than 48 hours.####How to put it in Inserting a cervical cap may sound difficult, but with a bit of practice, it's not that tough. Here's the deal: 1. Wash your hands with soap and water. 2. Check your cervical cap for holes and weak spots. Filling it with water is a good way to check—if it leaks, you've got a hole. 3. Put a quarter teaspoon or so of spermicide in the dome of the cup, and spread some around the rim, too. 4. Flip it over to the side with the removal strap and put another half teaspoon in the indentation between the brim and the dome. 5. Get comfy, like you're going to put in a tampon. 6. Put your index and middle fingers into your vagina and feel for your cervix, so you'll know where to place the cap. 7. Separate the outer lips of your vagina with one hand, and use the other hand to squeeze the rim of the cap together. 8. Slide the cap in dome side down, with the long brim first. 9. Push down toward your anus, then up and onto your cervix. Make sure your cervix is totally covered. ####How to take it out Of course, what goes in must come out (at least 6 hours after you've had sex). Here's how: 1. Wash your hands again. 2. Squat down. Put a finger inside your vagina, get a hold of the removal strap, and rotate the cap. 3. Push on the dome a bit with your finger to break the suction. 4. Hook your finger under the strap and pull the cap out. Still having trouble? You might want to consider switching to another method. Finally, take good care of your cap and it'll last up to two years. * After you take it out, wash it with mild soap and warm water. * Let it air dry. * Don't use powders on your cap—they could cause infection. * And don't worry if it becomes discolored. It'll still work.
There are positive and negative things to say about each and every method. And everyone's different—so what you experience may not be the same as what your friend experiences.