Page 6: Diaphragm

A diaphragm is a shallow rubber cup that is placed inside the vagina. It covers the cervix and holds spermicide directly over the cervix to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Spermicidal jelly or cream MUST be used with the diaphragm. Consider the following information when selecting a diaphragm as a method of birth control.

  • The diaphragm must be fitted by a health care professional.
  • Neither partner should be aware of the diaphragm during intercourse.
  • The diaphragm can be put into place several hours prior to the act of intercourse and does not require any active involvement on the part of a partner. However, it can be easily incorporated into sexual foreplay, and if desired, the partner can learn how to insert a diaphragm.
  • For optimal effectiveness the diaphragm must be in place PRIOR TO any penetration.
  • It is not necessary to immediately withdraw the penis from the vagina after ejaculation.
  • Women with allergies to spermicides are not good candidates for using the diaphragm.
  • You will be instructed in the proper method of inserting the diaphragm when it is fitted.
  • Using a condom with the diaphragm increases effectiveness.

Diaphragm Insertion

  • Prior to insertion, you should check the diaphragm for tiny holes or tears.
  • The diaphragm must remain in place for a minimum of 6 hours after the LAST act of intercourse. Early removal will lessen the effectiveness. It should not be worn longer than 24 hours.
  • If an additional act of intercourse is going to occur, DO NOT remove the diaphragm. Simply insert an extra applicator of spermicide into the vagina.
  • When a diaphragm is placed in the vagina, the vaginal wall expands around the diaphragm. The rim of the diaphragm fits snugly behind the pubic bone and extends behind the cervix so that the cervix is covered by the dome of the diaphragm.
  • After removal, simply wash the diaphragm with warm soap and water, pat dry and place it in the storage container.
  • The diaphragm is available at McKinley Health Center. Call 217-333-2700 and select Women’s Health to schedule an appointment. Be sure to tell the receptionist that you want to have a diaphragm fitting. Extra time is allowed so that you can practice insertion and removal.


See: CDC Family Planning Methods