Although the Today contraceptive sponge was approved by the FDA in 1983, it was pulled off the market in 1995 because of stringent new government safety rules that had to do with the manufacturing plant. In late 2005 the sponge was reintroduced and avail­able over the counter in the United States. The one-size-fits-all sponge covers the cervix and contains spermicide. A box of three sponges costs approximately $13.

How It Works

Contraceptive sponges work in three ways: as a barrier, blocking the entrance to the uterus; absorbing sperm; and deactivating sperm. Prior to vaginal insertion, the sponge is moistened with water, which activates the spermicide. It is then folded in half and in­serted deep into the vagina (see Figure 13.6). Like the diaphragm, the sponge must be checked to make sure it is covering the cervix. Intercourse can take place immediately after insertion or at any time during the next 24 hours and can occur as many times as desired without adding additional spermicidal jelly or cream. However, the sponge must be left in place for 6 hours after intercourse. For removal, a cloth loop on the outside of the sponge (Today sponge) or die-cut slots (Protectaid sponge) are grasped to gently pull

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