Prescription onlyNo hormones

Diaphragm

No
Yes
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Prescription onlyNo hormones

Our pharmacists’ bottom line

The diaphragm is easy to use, but needs to be inserted into the vagina correctly. It's most effective (and recommended) when used with a spermicide, which can be irritating and messy.

12%
of people using this method got pregnant in a year
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  • Can be inserted right before sex, or up to 18 hours beforehand (won't interrupt the heat of the moment!).
  • Very simple to use, and safe for most women.
  • Doesn't contain hormones, which some women prefer.
  • Usually inexpensive, and can be used for up to 2 years.
  • You can get one easily OTC or online with a prescription. Your health provider might even have them in stock.
  • Can be left in for 24 hours – and you can have sex as many times as you want in that time frame.
  • Requires a prescription, and sometimes a fitting (depending on which diaphragm you get) that can cost up to $200 without insurance.
  • Not recommended for use during your period – best to use another method of birth control around this time.
  • Might take some practice to insert and remove it correctly.
  • Must be left inside the vagina for 6 hours after sex in order for it to work.
  • You have to be comfortable with your body since you insert and take it out on your own.
  • Best when used with a spermicide, which can irritate some women's vaginas or cause urinary tract infections.
  • Doesn't protect against STDs.
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