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1) Barrier Methods
The Male Condom
Male Birth Control Pill
The Female Condom
Cervical cap
Contraceptive Sponge

2) Hormonal Methods
Implants (Norplant)
Shots (Depo-Provera)
Birth Control Pills
Chewable Birth Control Pill

3) IUDs (Intrauterine Devices)

4) Emergency Contraception
    New Emergency Contraceptive Ella

The Cervical Cap

      The cervical cap is a latex, dome-shaped device that fits over the cervix. There is a groove on the inside of the cap that creates a seal and allows the cervical cap to stay in place, which is aided by the vaginal wall. The cap is often used with a spermicide cream or gel. Six months prior to fitting, a pap smear will be taken. It is essential to be fitted correctly for a cervical cap to effectively prevent pregnancy. The cervical cap acts as a barrier and blocks the sperm from passing the cervix from the vagina. This prevents the sperm from reaching the uterus, thus preventing pregnancy.

The cap is removed within 48 hours after intercourse. This enables the vagina to naturally promote cleansing. The cervical cap is considered to be 91% effective when used properly. The cap is generally considered less effective for those who have had more than one vaginal birth. Using the cervical cap effectively demands correct placement and consistent use. The cervical cap can be in place for 48 hours, offering an advantage of spontaneous sexual activity. It can be a good alternative for those who have difficulty using a diaphragm. However, the cap can't always be fitted effectively to every shape and size of cervix and it is possible to dislodge the cap during sexual intercourse.

Advantages of the Cervical Cap

- It can be left in place for up to 48 hours, allowing spontaneous protected intercourse
- It requires one small application of spermicide inside the cap at time of insertion
- It is less messy than the diaphragm
- It is smaller than a diaphragm and less noticeable to either partner
- Fewer and less serious side effects than many other forms of birth control are experienced, including the Pill or IUD

Disadvantages of the Cervical Cap

- It can be trickier to insert and remove than a diaphragm
- It can be dislodged from the cervix during intercourse

Visit the Reproductive Health Online website, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University for more information about reproductive health and birth control methods.

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