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A diaphragm is a soft, dome-shaped cup made of latex. You insert it into your vagina before vaginal sex to prevent pregnancy. The diaphragm needs to be filled with spermicide and covers your cervix to block sperm. It is 80% - 94% effective.

  • You can insert it ahead of time so sex play is not interrupted
  • It is reusable. You don’t have to use a new one every time you have sex; however you need to apply more spermicide each time to ensure optimal effectiveness
  • The case that holds the diaphragm is fairly discrete and can easily be carried in a purse or bag
  • It provides an alternative to using hormones.
  • A diaphragm can be messy or hard to insert and remove for some women
  • Some women may be allergic to the latex or develop an irritation from the spermicide. Some women develop bladder infections from using a diaphragm
  • The diaphragm does not protect against STIs
  • Diaphragms have to be fitted by a doctor or a health worker since they come in different sizes. It may be hard to find a doctor who knows how to fit a diaphragm.

Oil based lubricants will deteriorate the latex in the diaphragm. Use only water or silicone-based lubricants when you have sex.

The only diaphragm currently available in Canada is a non-latex silicone diaphragm. As of August 2009, purchasing the necessary spermicidal jelly to use with the diaphragm remains a challenge. For more information email CFSH at  

Updated August 28, 2009

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