A diaphragm is a cap made of thin latex, which can be fitted over the cervix (the mouth of the uterus) inside the vagina. The diaphragm is one of the oldest contraceptives and was virtually the only method available for women before the pill was introduced in the early 1960s.
The functioning of the diaphragm
The diaphragm prevents sperm from entering the uterus. The diaphragm is effective if fitted and used properly, i.e. in combination with spermicidal jelly.
Advantages of the diaphragm
- the diaphragm does not interfere with sex
- the diaphragm is purely mechanical
- the diaphragm is used only when you have sex
- the diaphragm gives you control
How the diaphragm is used
The diaphragm is applied some time (not more than two hours) before having sex. You can sit, squat or lie down. Apply sufficient spermicidal jelly on both sides, then squeeze the ring so that you can slide the diaphragm into your vagina and over the cervix. Check that the cervix is covered. Now you are ready.
Wait at least six hours after making love before you take the diaphragm out. This you do simply by hooking your finger under the rim and pulling out the diaphragm, which is then washed and stored in a cool place. Before using the diaphragm, check it for damage. Diaphragms can be used for several years.
In addition to diaphragms, there are various other types of caps that work basically in the same way as the diaphragm.