family planning

Diaphragm contraceptive - Benefits, Side effects of the Birth Control Method

  • 4.8   (8 Votes)
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MBBS on 20 Aug 2018 - Written by Dr. Sankar Das Mahapatra - MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MBBS

Benefits of Diaphragm contraceptive include no interruption in intercourse and easy to carry. Contraceptive methods have side effects which includes irritation from size of diaphragm and increased chances of STDs due to diaphragm spermicide. Birth control needs must be used with proper and timely precautions.

Diaphragm is a contraceptive or birth control method used to prevent pregnancy. Diaphragm contraceptive is a C-shaped shallow cup or a small saucer like structure made of soft silicon, which you can bend half and put inside your vagina. It overlays your cervix and prevents the flow of sperm inside your vaginal cavity. Diaphragm meaning states a cup like structure, which you can easily put inside your vagina. Diaphragm contraceptive is highly effective when used with spermicide.  Spermicide is a gel or cream like supplement, which kills sperms. Diaphragm meaning states that it acts like an obstacle to sperm and stops it from meeting an egg. This way diaphragm prevents pregnancy.

How effective are Diaphragms?

While talking about effectiveness of Diaphragm, it is 94% effective. However, diaphragm contraceptive is not used properly by most of the users and so its effectiveness comes nearly around 88%. Diaphragm meaning with this effectiveness states that 12 out of 100 women get pregnant using this birth control method. This is so because they do not follow the instructions and do not use it properly. While choosing diaphragm as a birth control method, you should use it every time you go for a vaginal or anal intercourse. Using diaphragm every time when you do sex, increases its effectiveness up to 50%. To increase the effectiveness of diaphragm meaning- use it before having sex and if possible insert the diaphragm inside your vaginal cavity before you are reach your orgasm.  You can use diaphragm contraceptive with spermicide also to raise its effectiveness.

Diaphragm, Diaphragm contraceptive

Spermicide is kind of gel or cream which kills the sperm and prevent pregnancy. For best possible results, diaphragm should be used with other birth control methods like withdrawal (where your partner can take out before ejaculation) or Condoms. Using a diaphragm with condoms will also protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

How to use a Diaphragm?

It is very easy to use diaphragm if you follow the instructions properly. You can ask your doctor or nurse to direct you or you can see the instructions behind the packaging as well. It takes time to get into the practice of easily putting diaphragm contraceptive inside the vaginal cavity. You need to follow the direction properly and it will get easier day-by-day for you every time when you try inserting it. The procedure on how to use a diaphragm below-

  • Wash your hands and sanitize them before picking up your diaphragm. Now, gently put one tablespoon of spermicide in the cup.
  • When you have to put diaphragm inside your vaginal cavity, you need to stand with one foot on the chair or you can just sit along the edge of the chairs. You can even sit in squat position to insert the diaphragm in. Its you to decide which position is most comfortable with you.
  • Now, hold the rim of the diaphragm, fold it half and impel it far up and back into your vagina, putting the dome upside down. Make sure that the edge of diaphragm is stuck behind your pelvic bone and your cervix is all covered.
  • Use of Diaphragm meaning - Putting it inside your vagina 2 hours before you want to have a sexual intercourse. You should put the diaphragm inside your vagina along with spermicide. If the intercourse takes more than 2 hours to start, re-apply the spermicide, as it won’t work for any longer duration than 2 hours.

You should leave the diaphragm in for at least 6 hours to get the most possible results. Do not leave it inside for more than 24 hours. If you want to have sex again, you can use it reapplying the spermicide with diaphragm.

How effective are diaphragms, How safe is diaphragm

You can gently take it out hooking the rim with your fingers and pulling it outwards.

How safe is the Diaphragm?

Diaphragm contraceptive is generally safe for most of the people. However, there are several cases in which using a diaphragm is not safe enough and can cause other health-related issues.

  • Do not use it if you have are not comfortable with putting your fingers inside your vagina.
  • You should not use diaphragm if you have given birth 6 weeks before.
  • Do not use this birth control method if you have sensitivity issues with silicon or spermicide. Consult a doctor before using it.
  • Do not use diaphragm if your partner is suffering from AIDS.
  • You should avoid using diaphragm if you went through an abortion within the first trimesters of your pregnancy.

Benefits of Diaphragm

  • You can easily carry it anywhere along with you and can use it according to your wish. You don’t even have to reach a doctor or nurse for repeating the process with diaphragm.
  • Diaphragm does not interrupt with sexual intercourse. Even your partner does not feel any discomfort and you can safely have sex preventing pregnancy.

Diaphragm contraceptives do not carry any kind of hormones and so they do not cause any kind of hormonal issues like mood swings, cravings or severe diseases like PCOD or Ovarian Cysts.

Side Effects of Diaphragm

  • You have to ensure that diaphragm is inserted exactly 2 hours before sexual intercourse. Or else, the spermicide will not work and you have to reapply before having sex.
  • You may feel trouble putting the diaphragm inside the vagina and pulling it outside the vagina, too. Leaving it for more than 24 hours can cause discomfort you. Moreover, the size of diaphragm can cause irritation and trouble.
  • Spermicide used with diaphragm has several side effects. It can increase the risk of catching sexually transmitted diseases, especially if your partner is suffering from AIDS. It can also cause irritation in your vaginal cavity.

Hope this article has been able to solve all your queries on diaphragm contraceptive and how to prevent pregnancy with diaphragms. Follow Ela Woman blog to get regular updates on fertility health and treatment.

Dr. Sankar Das Mahapatra

Written by

Obstetrician, Laparoscopic Surgeon

"Dr. Sankar Das Mahapatra is a Laparoscopic Surgeon (Obstetrics and Gynecology) and Gynecologist based in Kolkata. He has nearly 3 decades of experience. He completed his MBBS from Nil Ratan Sircar College and Hospital, Kolkata in 1990. After that, he enrolled himself in Patna Medical College, Patna in 1993 to get a degree in MS in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He went to Australia to do his Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery from Sydney University in 2005. With a book ""State of the Art of Laparoscopic Suturing"" under his name, he has been in a successful career of performing nearly 2000 Laparoscopic Procedures. He came back to India and became a member of the Indian Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (IAGE). He is very helpful to the patients having High-Risk Pregnancies and Abnormal Vaginal or Menstrual Bleeding. The patients seeking treatment for gynecological problems like Gyne Laparoscopy, Laparoscopic hysterectomy, IUI, and IVF can consult Dr. Mahapatra at Millenium Clinic, Teghoria and Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Barasat, Kolkata. You can get his contact details on"


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Sheetal Chabra

It's a very unique way to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Everyone should be educated about it. Thanks for sharing and I would share them too.

Aug. 31, 2018, 8:34 a.m. 5.0


Pradeep Bansal

If a woman and her man are allergic to latex, should avoid using latex diaphragm. It can also cause side effects like UTI and TSS.

Aug. 11, 2018, 9:44 p.m. 4.5



Is it necessary for my partner to use a condom if I am having those inside my vagina? Is it possible to use them again and again?

June 19, 2018, 2:38 p.m. 5.0


Sandeepa Sukh

I usually have abdominal pain while inserting and removing diaphragm. Is it normal?

Feb. 14, 2018, 9:30 p.m. 4.5


Swati Baxi

Is it possible to find diaphragm nowadays, please suggest where to buy them?

Nov. 20, 2017, 12:32 p.m. 5.0


Vijetha Shetty

I found somewhere that the diaphragm got invented in the year 1842. It was very soon I must say. There was a time when it was one of the most widely used contraceptives in US.

Oct. 30, 2017, 2:03 p.m. 5.0


Amar Singh

Correct way of inserting a diaphragm is important so that you don't drop it out while sitting or strolling around.

Oct. 30, 2017, 1:58 p.m. 4.5


Dana Moultrie

I feel that following instructions that are given on the packaging of a contraceptive ensure total safety. Correct usage is the bottomline no matter what!

Oct. 30, 2017, 12:01 p.m. 4.5

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