Birth Control Options
What is it?
The diaphragm is a reusable, barrier method of birth control. It is latex dome that is placed in the vagina, over the cervix. This dome acts as barrier, preventing sperm from passing through the cervix and fertilizing the egg.
- The diaphragm should always be used with a spermicide
- Must be fitted by a health professional. This ensures the correct size so it will stay in place.
- Diaphragm size may change if you have had a pregnancy, abortion, lower pelvic surgery, or if you have lost or gained ten or more pounds.
- Non-latex diaphragms are also available
- Should be used with water-based lubricants only
How does it work?
The diaphragm blocks the entry to the uterus, preventing sperm from reaching the egg. The spermicide works to destroy sperm on contact.
- The diaphragm must be left in the vagina for at least 6-8 hours after sex
- Spermicide should be reapplied inside the vagina each time you have sex
- To remove the diaphragm, hook a finger under the rim and pull it out. Wash it with mild soap and water and inspect it carefully for breaks and tears. Store in its case away from excessive heat and light.
- If properly cared for, most diaphragms will last up to 2 years
How effective is it?
The diaphragm is 94% effective when used perfectly. With typical use, it is 84% effective in preventing pregnancy.
What are the advantages?
- Does not contain hormones
- Can be used in combination with a male condom to increase contraceptive effectiveness and protection against sexually transmitted infections
- Offers women privacy and control because it can be inserted up to 6 hours before sex
What are the disadvantages?
When left in place for longer than 24 hours, the diaphragm may cause toxic shock syndrome.
- Requires proper insertion technique (may need to practice)
- Cannot be used by people who are allergic to spermicides
- Does not protect against certain sexually transmitted infections
- May increase the risk of persistent urinary tract infections
- May become dislodged during intercourse (See Emergency Contraception)
- Should not be used with oil-based lubricants
- Must be fitted and prescribed by a health care professional