Cervical barriers work by blocking the entrance to the uterus and deactivating sperm through the use of spermicidal cream or jelly. After insertion, a woman must check to see that the barrier is covering her cervix. The barriers should be left in place for 8 hours after the last intercourse. Both cervical barriers have straps to aid in removal. Women should not use the barriers during menstruation because they can increase the risk of toxic shock. After use, the devices should be washed with soap and water and allowed to air dry.


Effectiveness rates for typical use of both the FemCap and Lea’s Shield are approximately 86% in women who have never had children (Cates & Stewart, 2004). Typical effec­tiveness rates are lower for women who have had children. At this time there are no per­fect use effectiveness rates for the cervical barrier methods.