What is a diaphragm?
Diaphragms are made of latex, with a shallow, domed cup and a flexible rim that, when inserted into your vagina, covers the cervix and prevents sperm from entering the cervix. Diaphragms are used with spermicide, which kills sperm and provides an added layer of birth control protection.
How effective is a diaphragm for preventing pregnancy?
When used correctly and in combination with spermicidal gel, the diaphragm has a birth control effectiveness rate of 94 percent, according to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. However, when a diaphragm is not properly used, it is only 84 percent effective.
Diaphragms need to be fitted by doctors and come in different circumferences, How well it fits has an impact on the effectiveness and it can change if you gain or lose a lot of weight, or if the tone of your vaginal muscles changes.
How is a diaphragm inserted?
Before inserting the diaphragm inside the vagina, spermicide is placed around the rim and inside where it faces the cervix. It is then inserted into the vagina by squeezing it tightly, pushing until the diaphragm expands and tucking it up behind the pubic bone and covering the cervix. It can be inserted in advance but must be left in for at least six hours after sex and for no more than 24 hours total.
Learn more about other birth control methods in our Birth Control Guide!