Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

Diaphragms work best when used correctly every time you have sex, which is difficult for some people to do. Also, spermicide can have side effects.

You have to use it every time you have sex.

In order for your diaphragm to work as well as possible, you have to use it every time you have vaginal sex — and you have to use it correctly.

If you’re not sure that you’ll be able to use your diaphragm every single time you have vaginal sex, there are plenty of other types of birth control out there that are easier to use and offer better protection against pregnancy (like IUDs and implants).

Explore different birth control methods to find a method that might work best for you.

Remember: whatever kind of birth control you choose, using condoms or internal condoms every time you have sex is the best way to reduce your risk of getting STDs. Using condoms along with your other birth control method also gives you extra pregnancy protection. Yay!

Diaphragms can be hard to use correctly.

Some people have trouble inserting the diaphragm, and it can take practice to get comfortable doing it.

Diaphragms can get moved out of place if there's a lot of hard thrusting going on.

Also, diaphragms won’t work as well if you don’t stay on top of the spermicide situation. You have to make sure you put your diaphragm-with-spermicide in before you start having sex, and leave it in for 6 hours after sex. If you have sex again, you have to put more spermicide in your vagina. And don’t leave your diaphragm in for more than 24 hours.

Spermicide may have side effects.

If you use spermicide lots of times a day, it can irritate your vagina and increase your risk of getting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Get more info on the potential risks.

Some people who use diaphragms get urinary tract infections (UTIs) a lot. If you notice that your vagina feels sore or irritated, it could be that you're sensitive to the spermicide or the material that your diaphragm is made of. Talk to your doctor if your diaphragm or spermicide is causing you problems.

Size matters.

Diaphragms come in different sizes, and so do our bodies. Changes in your body over time can mess up the fit of your diaphragm. You might have to get refitted for a new size after you’re pregnant or if you gain or lose 10 pounds or more.

Was this page helpful?
You’re the best! Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks for your feedback.


  • 83% 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.
See All Methods

Get Birth Control Reminders With Our Spot On App


This website uses cookies

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of required cookies when utilizing our site; this includes necessary cookies that help our site to function (such as remembering your cookie preference settings). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.



We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.



We use qualitative data, including session replay, to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.



We use web analytics to help us understand user engagement with our website, trends, and overall reach of our products.