How to Insert the Today Sponge

In order to use the Today Sponge correctly and effectively, it is important that you have a good understanding of your anatomy. The sponge is inserted through the vaginal opening and should be placed in the deepest part of the vagina (just below the cervix). The cervix is at the bottom end of the uterus. It feels like the tip of your nose and has a small opening through which sperm must travel to reach and fertilize the egg.


How to Find the Vaginal Opening

The today sponge

Peter Ardito / Getty Images

The best way to figure out where to insert the birth control sponge is to sit on the edge of a chair with your knees apart. Place a good source of light about an arm’s length in front of you and then use a hand mirror to examine the area between the outer "lips" (labia). You will find the vaginal opening between the labia. It will be just below the small urinary opening and one or two inches below the clitoris.


How to Find the Cervix

The easiest way to locate your cervix is to squat. While in a squatting position, gently insert your finger into the vagina. You should reach up on an angle toward your back until you feel the firm, round surface of the cervix (it should feel something like the tip of your nose). For some women, the cervix may be difficult to locate, so don’t get discouraged. You may have to explore a bit more before you finally locate it.

Another thing that you can try is bearing down. By doing this, you can bring your cervix down closer to the vaginal opening, so it may be easier to find. To do this, after inserting your finger, take a deep breath and bear down as if you were having a bowel movement. You should now be able to find your cervix just above the vaginal opening. This technique can also be very useful when it is time to remove the sponge.


Inserting the Today Sponge

Keep in mind that the Today Vaginal Contraceptive Sponge may be inserted into the vagina any time up to 24 hours before sexual intercourse. The birth control sponge is held in place by the muscles of the upper vagina. Also, the cup-like indentation on the top of the sponge helps to keep it in a position directly over the cervix.

Check the expiration date on the airtight, white plastic pouch (that the sponge comes in).

If the expiration ​date has not passed, remove the sponge from the pouch and hold it in one hand. Make sure that the "dimple" side is facing up. The loop should be dangling underneath the sponge.


Wetting the Sponge

It is critical that you wet the sponge thoroughly with clean tap water. The contraceptive sponge is coated with nonoxynol-9 spermicide. Completely moistening the sponge with water will activate the spermicide. The sponge continuously releases the spermicide throughout the vagina which immobilizes and kills sperm on contact.


Squeeze for Suds

Gently squeeze the sponge several times until it becomes sudsy. Make sure that you do not squeeze the sponge dry. The sponge should remain in this sudsy condition as it is inserted into the vagina.


Fold the Sides

To prepare the Today Sponge for insertion, fold the sides of the sponge upward, with a finger along each side to support it. The sponge should look long and narrow (almost like a puffy taco). You should also check to make sure the string loop is dangling underneath the sponge from one end of the fold to the other.


Bend Wrist

With the sponge in your hand, bend your wrist towards you and point the end of the folded sponge toward your vagina. When you look down at the contraceptive sponge, make sure that you can see the fold and that the string loop is still dangling below the sponge.


Squat and Insert Today Sponge

In order to insert the Today Sponge, it is easiest to start from a standing position. Then, slightly squat down and spread your legs apart. You can use your free hand to gently spread apart the lips of the vagina. You may also:

  • Choose to remain standing while placing one foot on a stool or chair
  • Sit cross-legged
  • Lie down

However, the semi-squatting position appears to work the best and is the easiest for most women.

Now, slide the sponge into the opening of the vagina as far as your fingers will go. Let the sponge slide through your fingers, so it is inserted even deeper into the vagina.


Slide Up the Sponge

Finally, you can use one or two fingers to gently push the sponge up into your vagina, as far as it will go. While doing this step, be extra careful not to push a fingernail through the sponge.

Then, check the position of the contraceptive sponge by sliding your finger around its edge to make sure that your cervix is not exposed. You should also be able to feel the string loop.

You will know that the Today Sponge is in the proper position if you have determined that your cervix is not exposed by sliding your finger around the edge of the sponge. If for any reason, the sponge has come out of position, you can simply slide it back in place.

It is also unlikely that the birth control sponge will fall out. It may be pushed down to the opening of the vagina (or perhaps fall out) during a bowel movement or other form of internal strain. If you think that this has happened, you can simply reinsert your finger into your vagina and gently push the sponge back. However, if the sponge happens to fall into the toilet, you must throw it away (in a garbage can; don’t leave it in the toilet), moisten a new sponge and insert it immediately.

You must also leave the sponge in place for at least six hours after your last act of intercourse, so don’t remove it before allowing the six hours to pass.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Parenthood P. How to Use the Birth Control Sponge: See Easy Instructions. Planned Parenthood.

  2. TODAY® Vaginal Contraceptive Sponge. U.S. National Library of Medicine.

By Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC
Dawn Stacey, PhD, LMHC, is a published author, college professor, and mental health consultant with over 15 years of counseling experience.