The condom and the pill aren't your only options

Long-Acting Contraception
Short-Acting Contraception
Emergency Contraception
Other Options

What is it?

A diaphragm is a barrier method of contraception.  It is a dome-shaped circle made of rubber or silicone that is inserted into the vagina to form a barrier between the sperm and the entrance of a woman’s womb.  It requires initial fitting by a doctor or nurse. It must be inserted before sex and should be used with a spermicide. It must be left in for at least 6 hours after sex (and no more than 24 hours).

How reliable is it?

Diaphragms are 94% effective with “perfect use” and when used with spermicide. This means that 6 women in 100 will get pregnant every year.1

However, because with every day “typical use” they are not always used perfectly, up to 12 women out of 100 in a year will become pregnant.1


Typical use

88% 1



  • It is an option for women who cannot or do not want to use hormonal contraception
  • There are no hormone-related side effects
  • You only have to use it when you are having sex
  • It does not interfere with sex, and your partner will not be aware of it


  • It requires a little practice to use the diaphragm correctly.
  • It can cause the vagina to become irritated, and occasionally infection of the bladder
  • It should not be used by women with recurring cystitis
  • It can interfere with spontaneity
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections

Where can I get it?

You can get a diaphragm from Family Planning Clinics, Well Woman Clinics and some general practices. A trained nurse or doctor must fit it for you. Once you have had a fitting and know your size you can buy additional ones from a pharmacy. Diaphragm fitting is available on the GMS (medical card scheme) but you will have to pay for the device yourself.


1. Trussell J. Contraceptive failure in the United States. Contraception 83 (2011) 397–404.