The diaphragm is a silicone dome-shaped cup that covers the cervix to keep sperm out of the uterus. Spermicide, a substance containing chemicals to slow sperm down and prevent it from reaching an egg, is used with the diaphragm for additional protection.

How effective is it against pregnancy?

  • Typical use: Prevents pregnancy 83% of the time
  • Perfect use: Prevents pregnancy 94% of the time
  • Using a diaphragm correctly and consistently increases its effectiveness. If you use a diaphragm perfectly, it is about 94% effective at preventing pregnancy.

How to Use:

  • You will need a prescription from a healthcare professional to get a diaphragm
  • Must be used each time you have sex
  • Must apply spermicide each time you have sex
  • Place high in the vagina to cover the cervix
  • Place up to 2 hours before sex, and leave in place for 6-24 hours after sex


  • Can last several years
  • Low cost
  • Can be used while breastfeeding


  • Using spermicide may raise the risk of getting HIV and other STIs
  • Shouldn’t use if you have vaginal bleeding or infection
  • Increased risk of bladder infection
  • Does not protect against HIV or other STIs – use a condom with this method

More info: How Do I Use a Diaphragm?

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