Menstrual cups are touted as a way to avoid the environmental impact and cost of tampons and pads with a comfortable, flexible container used to collect and dispose of a woman’s monthly flow. In addition to the convenience and Earth-friendly attributes of these products, Parents M
What’s a Menstrual Cup?
A menstrual cup is a small, flexible cup made from latex or silicone. Like a tampon, it is inserted into the vagina to collect monthly blood flow. The menstrual cup makes an airtight seal to keep menstrual blood from leaking. You periodically remove the cup, dispose of the waste and clean it thoroughly with soap and water before reinserting.
Although menstrual cups have been available in the U.S. since 1987, their use is still relatively small compared to the
How Can a Menstrual Cup Be Used for Conception?
Whether you want to boost your chance of conceiving quickly or you’ve been struggling to conceive and want to avoid costly medical assistance, it can’t hurt to try the so-called menstrual cup method. This can take one of two forms:
- Your partner ejaculates into the menstrual cup, which is then inserted into your vagina.
- Your partner ejaculates into your vagina during intercourse and then you immediately insert a menstrual cup.
Sperm can remain alive in the vagina for up to three days. After inserting the cup, you can keep it in for up to 12 hours to encourage sperm to fertilize your egg. Although evidence about the success of this method is only anecdotal at this point, it can’t hurt to try!
These strategies are designed to increase the chances that sperm will swim toward the egg by blocking them from moving away from the cervix. Because only one sperm needs to successfully penetrate the egg for conception, doctors think that using a menstrual cup in this way can increase your monthly chances of becoming pregnant.
In addition to preventing sperm from flowing away from the cervix, the menstrual cup creates a moist, warm environment that keeps these cells healthy and mobile. Some speculate that using a menstrual cup can even extend the life of sperm by several days.
What If I’ve Never Used a Menstrual Cup?
Even if you’re new to using a menstrual cup, you can still successfully use this method. However, you may want to get used to the device during your regular periods so that you are able to insert it properly when the time comes.
First, it’s important to choose the right size. Although menstrual cup sizing varies by brand, most companies offer a small size for women who have not yet given birth and a large size for women who have already been pregnant or who are plus-sized.
To put a menstrual cup in place, press the sides together to form a U shape. Slide the folded cup into your vagina just as you would a tampon. Once the cup is completely inside, hold and gently rotate the base of the cup. This allows it to open up and create a leak-proof seal.
To remove the cup, firmly hold the base and rotate it to break the suction. Gently pinch the cup closed and slide it out of place. You can make removal easier by bearing down with your pelvic muscles.
Keep the cup clean to avoid infection or irritation. Wash with a mild, unscented water-based soap and rinse with warm water. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and caring for your specific menstrual cup.
Most healthy couples will conceive naturally within a year of trying, with or without relying on menstrual cups and pregnancy. Talk with your doctor if you are unable to get pregnant after 12 months without using birth control, or six months if you are older than 35.