How do you use a diaphragm?
The diaphragm must be inserted into the vagina before you have sex. To do this follow these steps:
Wash your hands.
Put two 2cm strips of spermicide on the upper side of the diaphragm.
Fold the diaphragm in half and insert it as you would insert a tampon, sliding it up until it covers your cervix.
You can insert the diaphragm up to 3 hours before or just before sex.
You should also leave the diaphragm in for at least 6 hours after sex.
It can be left in for a maximum of 24 hours.
Other than making sure it is inserted properly, you should also check it from time to time to make sure it isn't damaged. Examine it carefully to ensure that there are no pin-holes or thin spots and that the spring rim is fully enclosed by silicone rubber. You might also label your case with the first use date to ensure you replace it within 2 years. You should also have the diaphragm checked by a doctor or nurse after childbirth, or if you lose a significant amount of weight (more than 3kg/7lb), and after a miscarriage or abortion to make sure it still fits correctly.
You can take your diaphragm out between 6 and 24 hours after you’ve put it in or had sex. To take your diaphragm out you should:
Wash your hands.
Put your finger into your vagina and find the edge of your contraceptive diaphragm.
Hook your finger under the edge of your contraceptive diaphragm and gently pull the contraceptive diaphragm downwards and out.
Wash your hands and your contraceptive diaphragm with unperfumed soap and warm water.
Once clean, leave your contraceptive diaphragm to dry in a cool place, away from direct sunlight.
Store your contraceptive diaphragm in its case until the next time you want use it.
The contraceptive diaphragm is available on prescription. Some diaphragms can be purchased without a prescription online or at a pharmacy. Your healthcare provider will need to do an initial fitting to find the right size diaphragm for you.
You can get the contraceptive diaphragm free, even if you're under 16, from:
Sexual health of genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics
Some young people’s services
PP-UN-WHC-GB-0081 September 2023