Diaphragm & Cervical Cap

What are they?

The diaphragm is a soft silicone cup with a flexible ring that’s worn inside the vagina covering the cervix (the opening of the uterus). The cervical cap is similar to the diaphragm, but smaller. It is also worn over the cervix. Both barrier methods block the sperm from getting to the egg. They are always used with a spermicide and both come in different sizes. A clinician will fit you for the correct size.


  • Can be put in up to 6 hours before sex and safely remain in place for up to 24 hours (diaphragm) or 48 hours (cervical cap).
  • Inexpensive and safely reusable for several years.
  • Easy to hide.


  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV.
  • You have to remember to use it every time you have sex.
  • May be difficult and messy for some women to insert and wear.
  • Raises the risk of frequent bladder infections.
  • Must be left inside the vagina for 6-8 hours after sex.  

Who uses the diaphragm & cervical cap?

People who have issues with hormonal BC (like the pill) or condoms; people who are comfortable inserting the diaphragm or cervical cap into their vagina (similar to tampon insertion).

How do you use the diaphragm & cervical cap?

You must add spermicide to the inside of the diaphragm or cap before you insert it. Either one can be inserted up to 6 hours before having sex but must be left inside the vagina for 6-8 hours afterwards. It may be unsafe to leave a diaphragm in for more than 24 hours or a cap in for more than 48 hours. Diaphragms and caps can be washed and reused for several years. Never share your diaphragm or cervical cap.

Where do you get the diaphragm & cervical cap?

You must be fitted for a diaphragm or a cervical cap at a clinic. Do not share diaphragms or cervical caps. 

How effective are the diaphragm & cervical cap?

Diaphragms and cervical caps are 84-94% effective. The risk of pregnancy doubles if you do not use these methods correctly.

Do the diaphragm & cervical cap offer STD protection?

NO. For STD protection use condoms with this method.