WellSpan Home

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.
  • Fold the 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.
  • Do not keep the diaphragm in for longer than 24 hours because of the risk of toxic shock syndrome.

Diaphragm care

  • 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.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

Current as ofNovember 21, 2017


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×