The diaphragm is a birth control device that provides a physical and chemical barrier to sperm and egg fertilization to prevent pregnancy.
A soft, thin rubber cup with a flexible rim, it is designed to hold birth control spermicide (jelly or cream) and prevent pregnancy when inserted inside your vagina and placed over your cervix. There, it prevents sperms from passing through your cervix into the uterus to fertilize an egg. If used properly, it is 92 to 95% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Diaphragm is considered a barrier method. The diaphragm is filled with contraceptive spermicide jelly or cream and placed inside your vegina around your cervix before sex play. There, it acts as a physical barrier to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg.
Who Benefits from Diaphragm Use
The diaphragm is a good birth control option for women who are looking for an effective, safe, and inexpensive form of birth control that doesn’t affect the body’s natural hormones. It is small, so it can be taken anywhere in a purse, pocket or backpack. A diaphragm can be inserted several hours before sex play and usually is not felt by either partner.
What Can I Expect
It you decide a diaphragm is a birth control option for you, you will need to get fit for a diaphragm at one of our four clinics. At your fitting appointment, you’ll receive a general exam. Next, you’ll try several “fitting rings” and diaphragm types to determine which is most comfortable for you.
After your fitting, your provider will teach you how to use and clean your diaphragm, and give you a prescription for it that can be filled at a drugstore. You can expect your diaphragm to last about 2 years. If you gain weight, have vaginal surgery, or give birth within several years of the initial fit, you may need to be refit.
There is risk of an allergic reaction to spermicides or vaginitis.
Good to Know
A spermicide and diaphragm should be put into your vagina close to the cervix no more than 30 minutes before sex. Keep it in place for 6 to 8 hours after sex. Every time you have sex, reapply the spermicide.
The diaphragm is not recommended for women who’ve experienced Toxic Shock Syndrome or who have frequent urinary tract infections. There is also risk of an allergic reaction to the spermicide or vaginitis.
Spermicides do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The diaphragm has no affect on your hormones and can be used while breastfeeding. This is an inexpensive option and can be bought over the counter at your local pharmacy.
How to Use Your Diaphragm: Step by Step Instructions
- Hold the diaphragm up to a light to see if there are any holes or tears.
- Put at least two teaspoons of contraceptive cream or jelly into the dome of the diaphragm. Using a finger, coat the rim and the outside with jelly.
- Before any sexual contact, place the diaphragm into the vagina and over the cervix as instructed.
- Check to make sure that the cervix is covered by running index and middle fingers over the surface of the diaphragm. Also check to see that the rim is properly positioned behind the pubic bone.
- If the diaphragm is inserted more than one hour before sex play, insert an applicator full of contraceptive jelly or cream into the vagina before sex.
- Insert an applicator full of contraceptive jelly or cream into the vagina each time intercourse is repeated.
- Keep the diaphragm in place for at least 8 hours after the last intercourse. Do not douche during this period. Do not keep the diaphragm in for more than 24 hours.
- Remove the diaphragm by grasping the rim and pulling downward. Wash it with mild soap and water, rinse in clean water, and dry thoroughly. Store in cool, dry place. Do not expose the diaphragm to sunlight; it will cause disintegration of the rubber.
Tips to Using Your Diaphragm Successfully
- To be effective, the diaphragm must be used EVERY TIME you have sex. Insert the diaphragm before any type of intimate contact.
- The diaphragm may be more comfortable if the bowel is emptied before insertion.
- Use ONLY contraceptive cream or jelly with the diaphragm. Other products such as Vaseline are not contraceptives and may destroy the rubber.
Some women may experience an allergic reaction to the jelly or cream. If this happens to you, try another brand of cream or jelly. If you continue to have irritation, talk with your provider about different options.
If the diaphragm is left in place for more than 24 hours, you may experience malodorous discharge, vaginal itching and pain. Bladder infections that keep returning may be due to pressure of the diaphragm rim.
Scheduling Your Diaphragm Fitting Appointment
To schedule your diaphragm fitting appointment, call 763-587-7000 or request an appointment.