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Diaphragm for Birth Control

Table of Contents


The diaphragm is used to prevent pregnancy. A diaphragm is called a barrier method because it keeps the sperm and eggs apart. It is made of rubber and shaped like a dome, and it has a firm, flexible rim. It fits inside your vagina and covers the cervix, which is the opening of the uterus.

You use the diaphragm each time you have intercourse. It will last for 1 to 2 years.

You need to be fitted for a diaphragm by your doctor and get a prescription for the right size and type of diaphragm.

You insert the diaphragm into your vagina no more than 6 hours before intercourse. You leave the diaphragm in place for 6 to 8 hours after intercourse. You cannot leave it in for more than 24 hours.

You should always use a diaphragm with a sperm-killing cream or jelly (spermicide).

How well does it work?

In the first year of use:

There is less chance of getting pregnant if you and your partner use a male condom with the diaphragm.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any health problems you have or medicines you take. He or she can help you choose the birth control method that is right for you.

What are the advantages of using a diaphragm for birth control?

What are the disadvantages of using a diaphragm for birth control?

If you think you used the diaphragm incorrectly, you can use emergency contraception to help prevent pregnancy. The most effective emergency contraception is an IUD (inserted by a doctor). You can also get emergency contraceptive pills. You can get them with a prescription from your doctor or without a prescription at most drugstores.

Credits for Diaphragm for Birth Control

Current as of: August 2, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

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