Augusta Healthcare for Women


Diaphragm, Cervical Cap and Cervical Shield

These barrier methods block the sperm from entering the cervix (the opening to your womb) and reaching the egg.

  • The diaphragm is a shallow latex cup.
  • The cervical cap is a thimble-shaped latex cup. It often is called by its brand name, FemCap
  • The cervical shield is a silicone cup that has a one-way valve that creates suction and helps it fit against the cervix. It often is called by its brand name, Lea’s Shield®.

The diaphragm and cervical cap come in different sizes, and you need a doctor to “fit” you for one. The cervical shield comes in one size, and you will not need a fitting.

These contraceptive methods are not reliable without spermicide. More spermicide should be used before each act of sex, no matter how closely timed they are. This can be inserted while the device is still in place.

After adding spermicide, place them inside your vagina to cover your cervix. You can buy spermicide gel or foam at a drug store.

All three of these barrier methods must be left in place for 6 to 8 hours after having sex to prevent pregnancy. The diaphragm should be taken out within 24 hours. The cap and shield should be taken out within 48 hours.

Women using these devices should practice how to insert and remove it.

Using a Diaphragm

Before the diaphragm is inserted, spermicidal cream or jelly should be applied around the rim and inside the dome of the diaphragm. It is then folded and inserted into the vagina. When the diaphragm is pushed up as far as it will go, the front part of the rim should be up behind the pubic bone. After the diaphragm is in place, the cervix should be completely covered by the rubber dome. You can feel to check if it is placed correctly. To remove the diaphragm, pull gently on the front rim.

Women using a diaphragm also should learn how to care for it. To wash the diaphragm, use mild soap and water. Rinse the soap off well (it can damage the rubber), dry it, and put it back in its case. It should be checked monthly for holes. A diaphragm should be replaced about every 2 years.

Using the diaphragm may reduce the risk of some sexually transmitted infections (STIs). When the diaphragm is used with the male condom, it provides added protection from pregnancy and STDs. The diaphragm should not be used during menstruation.

Reference: Center for Disease Control and Prevention