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Diaphragm (Birth control method)

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Diaphragm is a physical barrier method of birth control and it’s a dome shaped flexible cup made up of latex or silicone that is supposed to be inserted within the cervix to stop the sperm from fertilizing the ovum.


How to use the diaphragm?

Diaphragms come in different size which would be customized as per the requirement of your vagina. Your doctor or nurse will help you to choose the right one for you and also demonstrate how to use it correctly.

For your knowledge, we have explained the steps below: 

  • The first step is putting generous amount (1 teaspoon standard measurement) of spermicidal cream or gel in the cup and alongside the rim of diaphragm
  • Spread your legs wide preferably knees folded. You can sit or lie down.
  • Fold the diaphragm into half with your thumb and other fingers. Widen your vagina slightly and slide it inside as far as you can
  • The diaphragm will stick to the cervix and you can check if it has been inserted properly. Your cervix with feel thick as if the end of your nose.
  • Once it’s been used you can pull it out gently by holding the rims. It’s very easy.


How to take care of your diaphragm

If you take proper care of your diaphragm then you can use it for 1-2 years; except post childbirth, miscarriage or if you have gained or weight, undergone pelvic surgery, etc. because the size of your vagina is likely to change under such circumstances.

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Secondly do not clean your diaphragm with baby oils, talcum, detergents or any other things nor boil it. Always check for leakage by pouring water inside the cup. If water drips then you diaphragm has torn and you should replace it.

Points to remember before using diaphragm 

  • Do not use it without consulting your doctor for birth control purpose. Make sure you learn the technique correctly to avoid failure
  • Ask your doctor for a temporary diaphragm initially to get used to wearing the device properly. However, make sure you are using condoms during this period to avoid conceiving
  • Insert the diaphragm one hour before having sex and leave it for 6 hours post intercourse but never more than 24 hours
  • Make sure you have inserted the diaphragm correctly and it doesn’t come out during jerky movements.
  • If you are unsure of the positioning, then you can take it out apply spermicide once again and re insert correctly
  • Do not use vaginal gels or petroleum jelly or anything that can puncture the diaphragm because leaky diaphragms can make you pregnant.


How does the diaphragm work?

The spermicide solution used in the diaphragm plays the trick here. The diaphragm blocks the passage of sperms to your uterus. The sperms get killed when they come in contact with the spermicide and you are protected against pregnancy.


Who should not use diaphragms?

Under the following circumstances you shouldn’t use a diaphragm 

  • Undergone cervical surgery, have weak vaginal muscles or pelvic muscles or have an abnormally shaped cervix
  • Is prone to urinary tract infections, have sexually transmitted disease or infection or is at risk
  • You are allergic to latex or spermicides used in the diphragm


Advantages of using diaphragm

  • It’s easy to use, convenient to carry and effective as well if used correctly
  • Doesn’t interfere with the comfort of your partner, foreplay or during the act
  • You don’t need to wear it all the time.


Disadvantages of using diaphragm

  • Few women do not really find the insertion technique comfortable enough
  • Risk of manual failure if not inserted correctly, displaced while changing postures or while deep penetration
  • Does not protect you from STDs or STIs

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: September 02, 2014