A cervical cap, a thimble-shaped device, is a barrier method of birth control , made of latex or silicone. A diaphragm is also a barrier method of birth control that is made of thin rubber and has a springy, flexible rim. Both these means of contraception act as a barrier to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus and should be used with addition of spermicidal cream or jelly.
The size of these devices
A cervical cap is smaller, more rigid and less noticeable to either partner than a diaphragm. It comes in four or three sizes (depending on a manufacturer) whereas a diaphragm can be of different sizes that are chosen by a professional health care provider.
Use of spermicidal substances
Spermicide needs to be placed only once before use of a cervical cap. It also requires less of this substance than a diaphragm, therefore, the cap is less messy and permits more pleasant oral sex.
Differences in application
A cervical cap should be placed onto the cervix not less than 8 hours before sexual intercourse, whereas a diaphragm should be placed into the vagina not less than 6 hours prior to lovemaking. The first device can be kept in the vagina longer than the other one. The cap can be left for up to 48 hours in the vagina, when a diaphragm should stay there no longer than 24 hours.
Efficiency in birth control
There is a difference in the efficiency of both these methods of birth control . Cervical caps are said to be of the efficacy against pregnancy from 82.6% to 93.6% depending on the use of a cervical cap and manufacturer. The failure rate of a diaphragm in protection against unexpected pregnancy may be as high as 20% with typical use. Although some studies show that there is no difference between the efficiency of these two means of birth control . Additionally, diaphragms are known to slip out of the vagina more easily than the caps. A cervical cap is a good option for women who are not able to use diaphragms due to weak vaginal muscle tone.
When medical safety is concerned both of these methods of birth control are known to be medically safe and approved for use by the FDA. However, a cervical cap is reported to have fewer side effects and risks. As a matter of fact, the cap is one of the safest means of contraception. When these devices are compared, a diaphragm is known to cause various urinary tract infections more often than a contraceptive cap . None of these barrier methods should be used if a woman has a history of Toxic Shock Syndrome or if either of the sexual partners is allergic to latex or silicone.
Prevention against STD’s
Remember that none of these birth control methods protect against sexually transmitted diseases, therefore, male condoms should be worn for prevention of STD’s.