Contraceptive Sponge

Overview of Contraceptive Sponge

The contraceptive sponge is a small, spermicide containing polyurethane sponge that fits over the cervix. The sponge is shaped like a concave dimple with a cotton loop, and is one time use.

How It Works

The primary mechanism of providing contraception is the introduction of spermicide into the vagina, consistently released over a 24-hour wear time. The sponge can be used for several acts of intercourse over the 24-hour period without needing any additional spermicide. The sponge also acts as a barrier preventing sperm from entering the uterus through the cervix and must remain in place at least 6 hours after the last act of intercourse.


Have not given birth vaginally: Typical use: 84%, Perfect use: 91%

Have given birth vaginally: Typical use: 68%, Perfect use: 80%

How to Use

  • Wet the sponge with water and squeeze several times until it becomes sudsy. Do not squeeze the sponge dry.
  • Fold the sides upward with a finger along each side to support it. Be sure the string loop dangles underneath.
  • Use one or two fingers to push the sponge gently up into the vagina as far as it will go.
  • Be careful not to push a fingernail through the sponge.
  • Check the position of the sponge to see that the cervix is covered and the string loop can be felt.
  • Always wait at least 6 hours after the last act of intercourse before removing the sponge. Place the finger into the vagina, find the string loop, tug gently on the string and pull out the sponge.
  • If removal is difficult, relax the vaginal muscles and try again.
  • Dispose of sponge in a waste container; do not flush it down the toilet.


  • Available over the counter without a prescription
  • No need to be fitted
  • Can be used for 24 hours and for several acts of intercourse
  • Disposable, reversible and usually undetectable


  • The high concentration of spermicide can be irritating or allergic reactions can occur
  • May increase risk of contracting HIV infection
  • Provides no additional protection again sexually transmitted infections
  • Less effective than other methods


Over the counter product in the U.S.; does not require a prescription. Available at local pharmacies/drug stores (not at SHCS)