Last modified on March 3rd, 2021
A diaphragm is a shallow, dome-shaped cup made of a material called silicone. You insert the diaphragm into your vagina. It covers your cervix and keeps sperm out of your uterus. You need to use it with spermicide for it to work effectively.
You are comfortable with your body. If you are not comfortable putting your fingers inside yourself, a diaphragm is not the best option for you. It is a little like putting in a tampon. If you can do that, you can probably manage a diaphragm.
It takes discipline. You have to remember to insert your diaphragm before you have sex. And you need to remember it every time you have sex. It takes a bit of self-discipline and planning. But you can carry it with you if you want.
Availability. There are two kinds of diaphragms commonly available. Would you like to use this method? Check out the “Methods in my country” section to learn what is available in your location.
Allergy issues. If you are allergic to silicone or spermicide, you should not use a diaphragm.
The pregnancy question. You will be able to get pregnant as soon as you stop using the diaphragm. If you do not want to be pregnant, use another contraceptive method as soon as you stop using the diaphragm.
A diaphragm can be inserted just before sex. You can also insert it a few hours before. No matter when it goes in, you have to be sure to leave it in for at least 6 hours after you have sex. If you are going to have sex again that day, just leave the diaphragm in place and insert more spermicide way up in your vagina. Do not leave your diaphragm in for more than 24 hours.
Before you put it in. Add about 5 mL of spermicide to the inner part of the diaphragm. Spread a little of it around the rim, as well. (Not too much, or it will be too slippery to hang on to.) Some spermicide options are specifically designed for diaphragms and may come with an applicator you can use if you are going to have sex more than once within six hours (you will need to add additional spermicide). Any contraceptive gel or spermicide will do, except for the film or insert/suppository types. Do not forget to check the expiration date. If it is expired, then you need to buy new spermicide.
How to put it in. Inserting a diaphragm sounds more difficult than it is. Here are the steps:
Having sex again? You need to leave the diaphragm in for 6 hours after sex. If you have sex a second time within those 6 hours, first insert more spermicide. The 6-hour clock starts again, counting from the last time you have sex.
How to take it out. Here is how:
Are you having trouble? Ask your doctor about getting an inserter, or consider switching to another method.
Finally, take good care of your diaphragm as it can last for several years.
Tips and tricks
When you are inserting the diaphragm, make sure the vast portion of the spermicide stays inside the fold, where it will be most effective.
Everyone is different. What you experience may not be the same thing as another person.
The Positive: there are lots of things about the diaphragm that are good for your body as well as your sex life. 
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 Shoupe, D. (2016). Barrier Contraceptives: Male Condoms, Vaginal Spermicides, and Cervical Barrier Methods. En D. Shoupe, The Handbook of Contraception: A Guide for Practical Management. Retrieved from http://eknygos.lsmuni.lt/springer/677/147-177.pdf
 World Health Organization Department of Reproductive Health and Research and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Communication Programs (2018) Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers. Baltimore and Geneva. Retrieved from https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/260156/9780999203705-eng.pdf?sequence=1
 World Health Organization. (2016). Selected practice recommendations for contraceptive use. Geneva. Retrieved from https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/252267/9789241565400-eng.pdf?sequence=1