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The diaphragm is pretty easy to use once you get the hang of it — practice makes perfect! Your doctor or nurse will show you how to put it in and take it out.

How do I insert a diaphragm?

It may take some practice to get good at inserting your diaphragm. Your nurse or doctor will show you how to put your diaphragm in, and you should also read the instructions that come with the packaging.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Put about a tablespoon of spermicide in the cup.
  • Get into a comfortable position, like when you’re putting in a tampon. You can stand with one foot on a chair, sit on the edge of a chair, lie down, or squat — do whatever works for you.
  • Separate the lips of your vulva with one hand. With the other hand, pinch the rim of the diaphragm together to fold it in half.
  • Push the diaphragm as far up and back into your vagina as it can go, dome pointing down. Tuck the edge of the diaphragm behind your pubic bone. Make sure your cervix is covered.

When do I put my diaphragm in?

You can put your diaphragm in up to 2 hours before you have sex — any longer and the spermicide won’t work as well. If the action starts more than 2 hours after you insert your diaphragm, reapply the spermicide before you have sex. If you have sex again before taking it out, add more spermicide into your vagina without removing the diaphragm.

How long should I leave my diaphragm in?

Always leave your diaphragm in place for at least 6 hours after the last time you had sex — but don’t leave it in for more than 24 hours. If you have sex again, leave your diaphragm in but put a new dose of spermicide into your vagina.

How do I take out my diaphragm?

Taking your diaphragm out is easier than putting it in. Here’s what to do:

  • Hook your finger over the top of the rim to break the suction.
  • Gently pull your diaphragm down and out.

How do I take care of my diaphragm?

Here's how to keep your diaphragm in tip-top shape:

  • After you take it out, wash it with soap and warm water.

  • Let it air dry.

  • Don't use powder on your diaphragm — it can lead to infections.

  • Store your diaphragm in a clean place, away from extreme heat and direct sunlight.

Take a good look at your diaphragm every now and then. Hold it up to the light and check it for holes, cracks, wrinkles, or weak spots. You can also fill the cup of your diaphragm with water to test for leaks. If you spot something that looks off, talk to your doctor about getting a new one. In the meantime, use another type of birth control, like condoms, or wait to have sex.

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Diaphragm

  • 88% effective

  • Costs up to $75, but can be $0

  • Prescription required

  • Put it in before sex

A diaphragm won’t protect you from STDs. Use a condom with your diaphragm to help stop pregnancy and STDs.
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