Prescription onlyNo hormones


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Prescription onlyNo hormones

Our 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.

of people using this method got pregnant in a year


  • 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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  • The diaphram worked really well for us, but I found the spermicide to take the whole next day to totally leave my body and it was pretty gross and slimy. Also, it meant that sex was almost always scheduled because I didn't want to put in the diaphram if we didn't need it and didn't want to have sex if we weren't using it. I had some irritation from the spermicide early on, but it went away over time.