Diaphragm / Cap & Spermicide

The contraceptive diaphragm made from a thin, soft silicone and is shaped in a circular dome. When inserted, it covers the cervix and stops sperm from getting to the womb, preventing the egg from being fertilised.

In order to be effective, diaphragms must be used together with spermicide. That’s because spermicide kills sperm, preventing it from reaching the uterus and potentially fertilising an egg.

Another thing to remember is that for this method of contraception to be effective, the diaphragm must be used and cleaned properly each time you have sex.

Diaphragms, and other types of contraception, are available for free through the NHS. You will need to visit your local contraception clinic, sexual health clinic or GP to arrange this method of contraception.


  • 92-96% effective (at preventing pregnancy over a year-long period of normal use, when used with spermicide).
  • Only needs to be used during sex.
  • Using this contraceptive method poses no serious health risks.
  • You are in total control of your contraception.
  • It’s fine for sex to occur more than once within a 24-hour period (providing fresh spermicide is applied each time).


  • Must be used every time you have intercourse.
  • Inserting the cap might interrupt sex.
  • Some people find spermicide messy to use.
  • It can take time to learn how to use the diaphragm properly.
  • The diaphragm can only be left in place for up to 24 hours at a time.
  • Does not provide protection from STIs.
  • An internal examination is required by a doctor to measure and provide the correct size.
  • The latex and/or spermicide may cause irritation for some women or their partners.
  • Extremely rarely, users can develop a syndrome known as toxic shock.
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