What is it?

A silicone dome that covers the cervix (the area at the top of the vagina) and prevents sperm from getting inside. You insert the diaphragm into the vagina. When it is in place, it covers the cervix. It should always be used in combination with a lactic acid gel designed for use with diaphragms, such as the Caya gel or Contragel. It is reusable and generally lasts about a year.

How do you use it?

Start put placing lactic acid gel inside the dome shape of the diaphragm. Holding it so that the curve of the down faces downwards, squeeze the rim of the diaphragm until the sides touch together. Insert it into the vagina as far up as possible, so that it covers the cervix. After vaginal sex, leave the diaphragm in for at least 6 hours.

Where can you get it?

You can get a one-size-fits-most diaphragm called Caya at some pharmacies without a prescription. Planned Parenthood Ottawa has a list of pharmacies that carry diaphragms. Pharmacies that carry the Caya diaphragm should also have lactic acid gel in stock.

How much does it cost?

Diaphragms average from $75 – $100. Lactic acid gel designed for use with diaphragms costs about $30.

How effective is it?

When used with spermicide, the diaphragm is 81% with typical use.

Does it reduce the risk of STIs?

No. It does not reduce of sexually transmitted infections.

Reasons someone might choose this method of birth control

  • It can be carried in your pocket or purse.
  • It generally cannot be felt by you or your partner.
  • There is no interruption of sex play — it can be inserted hours ahead of time.

Reasons someone might not choose this method of birth control

  • It may be difficult to insert
  • It may be too big or too small to properly cover the cervix for some people.
  • It needs to be left in for at least 6 hours after sex.

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