RisksBy Mayo Clinic staff
The cervical cap doesn't offer protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
An estimated 16 out of 100 women who've never been pregnant or given birth vaginally will become pregnant during the first year of typical use of the cervical cap. An estimated 32 out of 100 women who've given birth vaginally will become pregnant during the first year of typical use. This difference is due to the fact that the vagina and cervix are stretched by giving birth vaginally, which means the cervical cap may not fit as well.
Inconsistent or incorrect use of the cervical cap increases your risk of pregnancy. For example, you may get pregnant when using the cervical cap if:
- The cervical cap becomes dislodged from the cervix during sex
- You don't use spermicide
- You remove the cervical cap within six hours after having sex
Spermicide applied to the cervical cap may damage the cells lining the vagina, causing:
- An increased risk of contracting STIs
- Urinary tract or vaginal infection
- Vaginal irritation
Contact your health care provider if:
- The cervical cap slips out of place when you walk, sneeze, cough or strain
- You have signs or symptoms of toxic shock syndrome, such as sudden high fever, diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting, fainting or a rash that looks like sunburn
- You notice blood on the cervical cap after you remove it that isn't related to your period
- You notice a foul odor when the cervical cap is in place or after you remove it
- You or your partner experiences pain during or following use of the cervical cap
- Your partner has abrasions on his penis following use of the cervical cap during sex
- Female-controlled barrier methods. In: Zieman M, et al. A Pocket Guide to Managing Contraception. Tiger, Ga.: Bridging the Gap Communications; 2010:82.
- Cervical cap fact sheet. Office of Population Affairs. http://www.hhs.gov/opa/reproductive-health/contraception/cervical-cap/. Accessed Nov. 15, 2011.
- Choosing a method of birth control. The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. http://www.arhp.org/Publications-and-Resources/Quick-Reference-Guide-for-Clinicians/choosing/Cervical-Cap. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
- Yranski P. New options for barrier contraception. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing. 2008;37:384.
- Zieman M. Overview of contraception. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 11, 2011.
- FemCap. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfPMA/pma.cfm?id=16726. Accessed Nov. 15, 2011.
- The FemCap. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cder/drugsatfda/. Accessed Nov. 16, 2011.
- Barrier methods of contraception. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/faq/faq022.cfm. Accessed Nov. 14, 2011.
- Cates W, et al. Vaginal barriers and spermicides. In: Hatcher RA, et al. Contraceptive Technology. 20th ed. New York, N.Y.: Ardent Media, Inc.; 2011.
- FemCap. http://www.femcap.com/about.html. Accessed Dec. 2, 2011.