The Diaphragm

This is a silicone or latex device that is inserted into the vagina on the cervix to prevent sperm from passing through to the uterus.








 Think about it you can be help by a specialist 



No protection against STIs

* Practical effectiveness: when measured under conditions of current use (taking into account omissions, failures, etc.)
** Theoretical effectiveness: when observed under conditions of perfect use (without problems of use and without interaction with other medicine)

Source: effectiveness percentages are taken from WHO (2018) 


The diaphragm (made of silicone) is placed inside the vagina, at the entrance of the cervix and prevents sperm from passing through it to reach the egg. This method is combined with a spermicide that renders sperm inactive. It is available in the form of cream, gel, foam, pills, etc.




In Luxembourg, diaphragms are mainly bought on the Internet, but you can also order them in pharmacies. It is recommended to learn how to place the diaphragm with a healthcare professional.


After cleaning your hands thoroughly, make sure that the device does not have any holes (you can fill it with water to see if it is pierced).


Put spermicide in the hollow part of the diaphragm and insert it into the vagina, up until reaching the cervix (with the spermicide side facing the cervix).


Place the device at the time of intercourse or up to 2 hours before. Thereafter, remove the device at least 6 hours after intercourse (the time it takes for the spermicide to make sperm inactive) and no more than 24 hours after intercourse.


Available online


Can be ordered in pharmacies

Diaphragm costs in average 35€. CNS does not reimburse this contraceptive method. 

(This price is an average indication which may vary)


  • Ideal for women who do not want hormonal method or who are still breastfeeding.
  • No need to think about it outside of sex.
  • You can put the diaphragm in 2 hours before sex.
  • You do not feel the diaphragm once it is inserted! If it is inserted properly, your partner should not feel it either.
  • The diaphragm has a shelf life of one year, which makes it relatively inexpensive. However, don’t forget the cost of spermicides.


  • The diaphragm does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Thus, remember to use condoms. 
  • It is not the most reliable method of contraception. It is best to combine it with another method.
  • You must wait for at least 6 hours after your last intercourse before you can remove the diaphragm.
  • The diaphragm may move during vigorous intercourse or in the presence of a large male sex.
  • There are risks of irritation and allergies to silicone or spermicide.
  • You need to anticipate every time you are having sex.  
  • A minimum of skill and attention is necessary. It is not easy to insert in a hurry. 
  • The diaphragm cannot be left in place during your period.


I am allergic to latex, can I use the diaphragm?

Yes, because diaphragms are in plastic or in silicone.

Won't the diaphragm disappear in my uterus?

The vagina is a set of muscles that ends with the cervix. The cervix has only a very small entrance to the uterus through which sperm, a smear stick or an IUD can eventually pass through. It is not possible for a diaphragm or cervical cap to enter.

Is the diaphragm uncomfortable (for one and/or both partners)?

Very few partners say they are bothered by the diaphragm during penetration.

Can the diaphragm be used without spermicide?

Yes, it is possible to use the diaphragm without spermicide, but the effectiveness is reduced. Without spermicide, the diaphragm is 83-84% effective. With spermicide, it prevents pregnancy by 88%. It is therefore not recommended to use the diaphragm without spermicide. If you use it without spermicide, try combining it with another technique to increase its effectiveness, such as the internal or external condom, which will also help protect you from STIs!

Can I keep the diaphragm on all day?

Yes and no.

Before intercourse: you can keep the diaphragm inserted for 2 hours before intercourse.

After intercourse: you should keep the diaphragm inserted at least for 6 hours after sex. You can keep it in for up to 24 hours after sex, but after 24 hours you increase your risk of having a toxic shock syndrome.

What is toxic shock syndrome?

Toxic shock is a serious reaction that requires a quick trip to the emergency room. It is caused by a bacterium called “staphylococcus aureus” which is present in 1% of women without causing any problems. However, if there is a lot of fluid in the vagina, it creates a favorable environment for the bacteria to multiply and, if there is enough of it, it will produce a toxin which will then affect the body. Warning symptoms are fever, flu symptoms, and /or loss of consciousness, after forgetting a tampon, a menstrual cup, a diaphragm or a cervical cap beyond the recommended time. As a reminder, it is advisable to change your tampon every 4-6 hours and to empty your cup every 6-12 hours. The diaphragm can be left in place for up to 24 hours after intercourse, and the cervical cap for up to 48 hours after intercourse. If you have any questions, please refer to the device instruction or to your physician.

Can you use lubricant with the diaphragm?

Yes, but only use water-based or silicone-based lubricant. Do not use oil-based lubricants, lotions, creams, etc., as they may alter the latex and thus the effectiveness of the diaphragm and/or the vaginal flora.

How long does it take to change my diaphragm?

The diaphragm can be reused several times, just wash it with soap and water before storing it until the next time it is used. The diaphragm should be changed when you see that the silicone  is deteriorating, approximately every 12 to 24 months.