Barrier Methods of Family Planning 205
The diaphragm is a shallow cup made of soft rubber that a
woman wears in her vagina during sex. The diaphragm covers the
cervix so that the man’s sperm cannot get into her womb. The
diaphragm should be used with spermicide. If you do not have
spermicide, you can still use the diaphragm, but it may not work as
well to prevent pregnancy.
Diaphragms come in different sizes, and are available at some
health posts and family planning clinics. A health worker who has
been trained to do pelvic exams can examine you and find the
right size diaphragm.
Diaphragms can get holes, particularly after being used for
more than a year. It is a good idea to check your diaphragm often.
Replace it when the rubber gets dry or hard, or when there is a
hole in it.
You can put the diaphragm in just before you have sex or up to
6 hours before. If you have sex more than one time after you put
the diaphragm in, put more spermicide in your vagina each time
before you have sex, without removing the diaphragm.
➤ When a
diaphragm is used
correctly, it prevents
pregnancy most of
the time and may
also give some
How to use a diaphragm:
1. If you have spermicide, squeeze
it into the center. Then spread
a little bit around the
edge with your
2. S queeze the
diaphragm in half.
4. C heck the position of your diaphragm by putting
one of your fingers inside your vagina
and feeling for your cervix through the
rubber of the diaphragm. The cervix
feels firm, like the end of your nose.
The diaphragm must cover your cervix.
5. If the diaphragm is in the right place,
you will not be able to feel it inside you.
3. Open the lips of your vagina
with your other hand. Push the
6. Leave the diaphragm in
place for at least 6 hours
You can leave the diaphragm in for up to 24 hours. It is OK to use the diaphragm during monthly
bleeding, but you will need to remove it and clean it as often as you would change a cloth or pad.
To remove the diaphragm:
Put your finger inside your vagina. Reach behind the front rim of the diaphragm and pull it down
and out. Wash your diaphragm with soap and water, and dry it. Check the diaphragm for holes
by holding it up to the light. If there is even a tiny hole, get a new one. Store the diaphragm in a
clean, dry place.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012