Birth Control: How to Use a Diaphragm - Topic Overview
A diaphragm is a birth control device that blocks sperm from
fertilizing an egg. It is made of rubber and shaped like a dome. It fits inside
a woman's vagina and covers the
cervix (the opening of the uterus); a firm, flexible
rim keeps it in place. A diaphragm is always used with a sperm-killing cream or
jelly (spermicide) to prevent pregnancy.
Proper diaphragm use
Spread spermicidal cream or jelly inside the
dome of the diaphragm and around the rim before inserting the diaphragm.
diaphragm in half, keeping the edges together and the
cream or jelly inside. Insert the diaphragm (with the dome pointing down or
backwards) all the way into the vagina, so that the diaphragm covers the
cervix. Tuck the forward rim of the diaphragm up behind the bone that forms the
front of the pelvis (pubic bone) and the back rim up behind the cervix. The
spermicide inside the diaphragm will be held against the cervix.
Insert the diaphragm no more than 6 hours before having sexual
intercourse. The insertion does not have to interfere with sex. Some couples
make insertion, which can be done by the man, part of foreplay. Normally,
neither you nor your partner will feel the diaphragm during intercourse. If you
do feel it, check to make sure it is in position. Also, you may need to make
sure the diaphragm is the right size for you.
Leave the diaphragm in place for 6 to 8 hours after intercourse.
Wash the diaphragm with warm water and hand
soap after removing it. Thoroughly dry it and store it in its container. Do not
use talcum or baby powder on the diaphragm because these products can break
down the rubber.
Check the diaphragm regularly for holes by holding
it up to a light and gently stretching the rubber.
Replacing a diaphragm
With good care, a diaphragm
should last 1 to 2 years. You should be refitted for a diaphragm if you gain or
lose a lot of weight, have abdominal surgery, or have a baby.