A diaphragm is a form of contraception

A diaphragm is a silicone cap. It sits on the mouth of the uterus (statt cervix) and prevents semen from reaching the egg cells. The diaphragm is used together with a gel. The gel can slow down the movement of the sperm.  

Diaphragms are available in different sizes. A doctor or an experienced specialist can determine which size you need.


You can ask for help at women's health centres, at your gynaecologist or at one of the pro familia clinics located throughout Germany. They will also show you how to use the diaphragm.

How to use a diaphragm

Before using the diaphragm for the first time, you should practice correctly inserting the diaphragm a few times. The right placement is essential for the contraception to work correctly.

  • You can insert the diaphragm up to two hours before having sexual intercourse. You can also insert it just before having sex.
  • Apply a special gel to the inside of the diaphragm. 
  • Fold the diaphragm together so that the hollow side faces upwards towards the uterus . 
  • Insert the diaphragm deep into the vagina, pushing it up over the entrance to the uterus. 
  • Check that the positioning is correct. The diaphragm must cover the mouth of the uterus (statt cervix) and sit securely.
  • Remove the diaphragm, at the earliest, six to eight and, at the latest, 24 hours after sex. Pull it down and out.

Wash the diaphragm with warm water and soap and rinse it well. Then allow it to air dry. 

Store it in a suitable box.

Put a special jelly on the inside of the diaphragm that kills sperm cells or slows them down.
Fold the diaphragm in half.
Hold the hollow side of the diaphragm towards the uterus.
Insert the diaphragm deep into the vagina, over the entrance of the uterus. The cervix must be covered.
The diaphragm is inserted.
The diaphragm stays in place when having sexual intercourse.
Remove the diaphragm by pulling it down and out.
Wash it in hot water and dry it.


Diaphragms are reliable when used properly. It only works when you use the right size. You need to know exactly how it is used. If you gain or lose more than five kilograms, you should get checked to see if you need a new diaphragm in a different size. 

After giving birth to a baby you will usually need a larger size. You cannot use a diaphragm right after giving birth. You can ask questions at a women's health centre, at a pro familia clinic or you can ask a doctor.

Protection against STIs and HIV

The diaphragm does not protect you against STIs or HIV. Only a condom can protect you from these infections.

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