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Birth Control Health Center

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How Does the Diaphragm Work for Birth Control?

A diaphragm is a “barrier method” of birth control. It’s round piece of flexible rubber with a rim that’s hard to bend. It goes in the woman’s cervix, where it prevents semen from entering the uterus.

How Effective Is It?

You should always use it with spermicide. When you do, the diaphragm is 82%-94% effective. That means that out of 100 women who use it, 6-18 will get pregnant in a typical year.

How Do I Use a Diaphragm?

The woman puts spermicide in and around the rim of the diaphragm, and then inserts it into her vagina no more than 2 hours before sex.

You need to keep it in place for at least 6 hours after sex. If you make love again during that time, you should use more spermicide each time.

Remove the diaphragm within 24 hours.

Where Do I Get One?

You need to see your doctor, who will give you a pelvic exam first to fit your diaphragm. You should get re-fitted every year.

Replace your diaphragm every 2 years, or if you gain or lose 10 or more pounds.

Does a Diaphragm Protect Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases?

No. The male condom provides the best protection from most STDs.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD, FACOG on September 22, 2014

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