What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To use the contraceptive sponge:

  • Remove the sponge from its package. Moisten the contraceptive sponge with about 2 tablespoons (30 milliliters) of clean water and squeeze it gently until the sponge becomes sudsy. Water activates the spermicide inside the contraceptive sponge. No additional spermicide is necessary.
  • Insert the contraceptive sponge. Find a comfortable position, such as squatting with your legs slightly spread apart. Separate your labia with one hand. With your other hand, hold the contraceptive sponge with the strap facing down and the dimple facing upward. Fold the sides of the contraceptive sponge upward. Point the folded contraceptive sponge toward your vagina and use one or two fingers to slide the sponge into your vagina as far up as it will go. Be careful not to push your fingernail through the contraceptive sponge while inserting it. Once inserted, the sponge offers pregnancy protection for up to 24 hours.
  • Check the placement of the contraceptive sponge. Slide your finger around the edge of the contraceptive sponge to make sure your cervix is covered.
  • After sex, leave the contraceptive sponge in place for at least six hours. However, do not leave it in longer than 24 hours.
  • Remove the contraceptive sponge. Gently remove the contraceptive sponge by pulling on the strap. If you can't find the strap, bear down or grasp the contraceptive sponge between your thumb and forefinger and pull. If your vaginal muscles are still holding the contraceptive sponge tightly, wait a few minutes and try again. Slip a finger between the contraceptive sponge and your cervix on one side to break any suction. Be careful not to push your fingernail through the sponge while removing it. After you remove the contraceptive sponge, make sure it's still intact. If the contraceptive sponge is torn upon removal, run a finger around the upper part of your vagina to sweep out any remaining pieces of the sponge.
  • Discard the used sponge. Place the used sponge in the trash. Don't flush it down the toilet. Never reuse a contraceptive sponge.

Avoid using the contraceptive sponge during your period. Douching isn't recommended — but if you douche, wait until at least six hours after sex to avoid washing away spermicide. Don't douche while the contraceptive sponge is in your vagina.

Contact your health care provider if:

  • You have signs and symptoms of toxic shock syndrome, such as sudden high fever, diarrhea, dizziness, vomiting, fainting or a rash that looks like sunburn
  • You have trouble removing the contraceptive sponge or you're able to remove only part of the sponge
Jan. 08, 2013