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Diaphragm/Cervical Cap

A diaphragm is a dome-shaped flexible rubber barrier that has to be put deep into the woman's vagina to fit over the cervix.

The cervical cap is a thimble shaped rubber dome that is put deep into the woman's vagina to fit over the cervix.

How does it work?

  • Both work by blocking the sperm so that it does not enter the cervix and fertilize the egg.
  • Both the diaphragm and cervical cap are used with spermicides to help kill sperm.

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How effective is it?

  • The diaphram/cervical cap is between 75 and 87% effective against pregnancy, when used correctly with spermicides.
  • It is much more effective in women who have not had any children.
  • Current information suggests that the diaphragm and the cervical cap do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , however studies are in progress.

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How do I use it?

  • Both the diaphragm and cervical cap can be inserted right before or up to 6 hours before intercourse.
  • They should be kept in place for 6-8 hours after intercourse, but no longer than 24 hours after insertion.
  • To use the diaphragm or cervical cap, put a teaspoon of spermicide on the inside cup-like part and spread a bit on the rim.
  • It is necessary to reapply spermicide with each act of intercourse.

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Where can I get it?

  • A doctor prescribes a diaphragm or cervical cap.
  • A pelvic exam must be performed in order to find the correct size diaphragm or cervical cap.

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Who can use this?

  • Most women can use this method; however, some conditions may prevent use, so check with your doctor.
  • It cannot be used until 6 weeks after a full term delivery, after a recent abortion, miscarriage, or during any vaginal bleeding, including menstrual periods.

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What is the cost of a diaphragm/cervical cap?

  • The cost is approximately $40-50 for the diaphragm or cervical cap.
  • Diaphragms must be replaced every 2 years (or more often if your weight changes by 10 lbs), and cervical caps must be replaced every year.
  • The cost of spermicide is approximately $0.25 per use.

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What are the advantages and disadvantages to using a diaphragm/ cervical cap?


  • Allows the female to be in control of her reproductive health.
  • Does not involve the use of hormones.


  • May cause cramps, bladder pain, or rectal pain.
  • Some women are sensitive or allergic to spermicide that is used with the diaphragm and cervical cap.
  • May cause vaginal or urinary tract infections   External Link .

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