A diaphragm, or cap, is a reusable, dome-shaped cup that fits over the cervix. It is made from latex or silicone. It is used with spermicide, a cream or gel that prevents the sperm from successfully fertilizing an egg.

Different sizes are available, but the standard size is 75 millimeters (mm) across. To get a good fit, your health care provider will carry out a physical examination.

How Does it Work?

A healthcare provider will normally explain how to use a diaphragm correctly. They can teach the user if there is difficulty inserting or removing the diaphragm. An inserter device may help.

To use the diaphragm:

  1. Apply about a teaspoon of spermicide in the dome, and spread it around the rim.

  2. Fold the diaphragm in half, with the dome pointing down, and so that the two sides of the rim are touching

  3. Hold the vagina open with the other hand.

  4. Push the folded diaphragm as far into the vagina as possible, aiming back toward the tailbone.

  5. With one finger, push the front rim of the diaphragm up behind the pubic bone.

  6. Check the position of the diaphragm by placing your finger on the dome. You should feel your cervix through it. The cervix is the part that feels firm, but not bony.

If it is not correctly positioned, you may have to remove it and start again, remembering to reapply the spermicide.

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