The diaphragm helps prevent pregnancy. Among various benefits, the diaphragm:

  • Allows prompt return to fertility
  • Can be used as a backup method of birth control
  • Can be used during breast-feeding beginning six weeks after childbirth
  • Can be inserted up to six hours before sex and left in place for up to 24 hours
  • Doesn't require a partner's cooperation
  • Has few if any side effects

The diaphragm isn't appropriate for everyone, however. Your health care provider may discourage use of the diaphragm if you:

  • Are allergic to silicone, latex or spermicide
  • Are at high risk of or have HIV/AIDS
  • Are at high risk of pregnancy — you're younger than age 30, you have sex three or more times a week, you've had previous contraceptive failure with vaginal barrier methods or you're not likely to consistently use the diaphragm
  • Have vaginal abnormalities that interfere with the fit, placement or retention of the diaphragm
  • Have a vaginal or pelvic infection
  • Have frequent urinary tract infections
  • Have a history of toxic shock syndrome
  • Have significant pelvic organ prolapse, such as uterine prolapse — when the uterus descends into the vagina from its normal position in the pelvis
  • Recently gave birth or had a miscarriage or an abortion
Jan. 21, 2012