THE BIRTH CONTROL SPONGE
A SPERMICIDAL SOLUTION.
ACTIVATE WITH WATER
The sponge is a small disc of latex foam that contains spermicide and is placed against the cervix to prevent pregnancy. It can be put inside the vagina for up to 24 hours before sex, making it suitable for spontaneous but uninterrupted sex. While many find the sponge a convenient method of birth control, it isn't suitable for everyone – particularly people who have given birth.
To use the sponge, simply wash your hands and dampen the sponge with tap water. This is an important step, because it starts the release of the spermicide. Now, with the dimple facing up, fold the sponge in half and place it as far as it will go, until it covers your cervix. Check the edges to make sure it's fitted properly, and you're good to go. After sex, leave it in for at least six hours, and then simply pull on the strap to remove it and throw it away. It is important to remove the sponge within 30 hours after insertion, as in some cases it can raise the risk of toxic shock syndrome.
HOW IT MEASURES UP
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
How long the sponge offers protection.
The overall rate at which the sponge is effective with typical use in people who have never given birth.1
The year the sponge was created by Bruce Ward Vorhauer.2
- Hormone-free – it can be an option for people who experience unwanted effects from hormones.3-5
- Self-administered – you can fit and remove it yourself.3
- Doesn’t interrupt sex since you can put it in a few hours in advance.3
- Less effective than other birth control methods – especially for people who have previously given birth.1,5
- No protection against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).3-5
- May not be the right option if you are uncomfortable with fitting and removing it from your vagina.3
- Planned Parenthood. How effective is the sponge? https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/birth-control-sponge/how-effective-sponge [Accessed September 2022]. Return to content
- Newton D.E. Birth Control: A Reference Handbook. https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=FaW-DwAAQBAJ&pg=PA307 [Accessed March 2023]. Return to content
- American Pregnancy Association. Contraceptive sponge. https://americanpregnancy.org/unplanned-pregnancy/birth-control-pills-patches-and-devices/contraceptive-sponge/ [Accessed September 2022]. Return to content
- DofEve. 2021 Guide to the Birth Control Sponge: is it effective? https://www.dofeve.org/2021-guide-to-the-birth-control-sponge-is-it-effective/ [Accessed September 2022]. Return to content
- Peace Health. Contraceptive Sponge for Birth Control. https://www.peacehealth.org/medical-topics/id/tw9510 [Accessed September 2022]. Return to content