by Anai Rhoads

What is a diaphragm?

A diaphragm is similar to a cervical cap. It is a soft latex, dome shaped barrier that protects you against unwanted pregnancy. As with the cervical cap, if used correctly, it has a success rate of 87%. A spermicide is added to immobilize or even kill any sperm that comes in contact with it.

Where can I get a diaphragm?

You may obtain a diaphragm by visiting your doctor for an examination.

Only your doctor can prescribe the diaphragm for you. Never attempt to use any other object that looks similar, or use another woman's diaphragm.

How do I use the diaphragm?

Start at 2 to 3 hours before intercourse. Apply the required spermicide inside and around the rim of the diaphragm. Place it deeply into the vagina, making sure you have securely covered the cervix. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully. Improper use can raise your chances of conception.

Pros and cons of the diaphragm?

As with anything we use in this world, there are upsides and downsides. The same applies to the diaphragm. Let us start with the pros...

Pros of using a diaphragm:

  • A diaphragm may reduce the risk of cervical cancer.
  • It may protect you against certain STDs (Note: nothing protects you against HIV and AIDS. A condom or abstinence are your only defenses).
  • Unlike the Pill, your cycle will always remain the way it should. You have the opportunity to stop the diaphragm at any time you choose in order to conceive.

Cons of using a diaphragm:

  • You will still need to keep it in place after sex for up to 8 hours.
  • It may become dislodged at any time, putting you at risk for pregnancy.
  • You may become allergic to the spermicide or latex.
  • If you gain or lose weight (8-10 pounds) you will need to have new one fit in for you.
  • After each new baby, you will need a different size diaphragm fitted.
  • Increased risk of urinary tract infections.
  • Cannot be used with those with previous toxic-shock history or those with frequent bladder infections.

Notify your doctor right away if you develop any rashes, painful intercourse between you or your partner, soreness, itchy discharge that has a strong smell, or develop a bladder infection.

Anai Rhoads is a medical and political researcher/writer with a particular interest in the sanctions on Iraq and the wider effect of racism's influence in the Middle East. A vegan since 2000, she is a dedicated supporter of activities which promote animal and human rights. Originally from Greece, she now resides in Virginia, USA with her husband and their two dogs, Bijou and Eva..

Copyright © Anai Rhoads. Permission to publish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.