What is diaphragm and how do I use it?

The diaphragm is a small dome shaped device made of silicone or latex that fits inside the vagina and covers the cervix. It must be used with spermicide. There are two types of diaphragms:

1) individually sized diaphragm, which must be fitted by a healthcare professional, and 2) onesize diaphragm, which fits most but not all women. Neither protect against STIs, including HIV. You should wait 6 weeks after giving birth to use a diaphragm, l the uterus and cervix return to normal size around 6 weeks.
The diaphragm must remain in place for 6 hours after sex, but for not more than 24 hours total. If you have sex again within this time frame,then apply more spermicide without removing the diaphragm. You then need to wait another 6 hours before taking out the diaphragm.

What are the benefits, risks, and side effects of using the diaphragm?


  • It does not affect milk supply if you are breastfeeding.
  • It has no effect on a woman’s natural hormones.
  • It can be inserted hours before sex. For the exact number of hours, read your diaphragm’s instructions.

Possible risks and side effects:

Because of spermicide used with the diaphragm can increase the risk of getting HIV from an infected partner, you should use the diaphragm only if you have one sexual partner or both are at low risk of HIV infection.
Use of the diaphragm and spermicide may cause vaginal burning and irritation.

Some people are allergic to spermicide or latex and may have a reaction.
Use of a diaphragm and spermicide may increase the risk of urinary tract infection.
Toxic shock syndrome has occurred from using diaphragm. To reduce the risk of TSS, do not leave the diaphragm inside for more than 24 hours.