The diaphragm is made of soft rubber, and is shaped like a dome. The diaphragm fits over the cervix and is held in place by the vaginal muscles. Before inserting the diaphragm, you coat or cover the inside of the cup with spermicidal cream or jelly. When fitted and used properly every time before intercourse, the diaphragm is 97-98% effective. Inserting the diaphragm may be awkward at first, but with just a little practice insertion becomes easy.
The diaphragm works by creating a chemical and physical barrier in that prevents sperm from entering through the cervix into the uterus, thereby preventing fertilization. The diaphragm holds the spermicidal cream or jelly close to the opening of the uterus. Any sperm that swim up around the rim of the diaphragm are caught in the spermicide. The sperm die within 6 to 8 hours. The diaphragm should be left in place for at least 6 hours. The diaphragm can be inserted up to 2 hours before intercourse. If intercourse is repeated within 8 hours, insert additional cream or jelly in your vagina, but do not remove your diaphragm.
Woman inserting diaphragm
The advantages of the diaphragm are great:
- No hormonal side effects.
- Provides a barrier to STDs entering the uterus.
- The diaphragm can last for many years. (Check the diaphragm often for holes, especially around the rim).
- Spermicidal jelly acts as lubricant.
Disadvantages: Some men and women may have an allergy to the contraceptive cream or jelly. If this happens, try another brand. The pressure of the diaphragm rim may sometimes cause bladder pain and increase the risk of bladder infections. Some women may have an allergy to the rubber in the diaphragm.