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When Is It Time For a New Diaphragm?


Updated November 09, 2010

When Is It Time For a New Diaphragm?


Photo © 2010 Dawn Stacey
Question: When Is It Time For a New Diaphragm?
A diaphragm is a flexible, latex, dome-shaped cup with a bendable rim. It is designed to fit securely in the vagina to cover the cervix and form a barrier to stop sperm from entering your cervix (so you won't get pregnant). It is important to always use spermicide with a diaphragm to immobilize any sperm that might leak in around the rim of the dome. In order to stay effective, you must pay attention to when it may be time to get a new diaphragm.

Some women mistakenly believe that it is time for a new diaphragm if the dome has become floppier, softer or changes color. This change in texture and color is normal with repeated diaphragm use. You call tell if your diaphragm is still considered to be in good condition by holding it up to the light and stretching it (just be careful not to puncture it with a sharp fingernail). If the rim of the diaphragm can easily be restored to a reasonable shape and there are no tiny holes, cracks or tears in the dome, then it is not time for you to get a new diaphragm. It is a good idea to carefully check your diaphragm this way often.

It is time to purchase a new diaphragm if you notice any damage after inspecting it. You should replace your diaphragm with a new one at least every two years. You should also be fitted for a new diaphragm by your healthcare provider if you have had any of the following:

  • A baby since your last fitting
  • A gain or lost of more than 10 pounds (approximately a 20% change in your weight)
  • A miscarriage or abortion (after 14 weeks of pregnancy)
  • Abdominal or pelvic surgery
  • If your diaphragm just doesn’t seem to fit well anymore
If any of these conditions have occurred, your diaphragm may not be as effective, so it is probably a good idea to use another method of contraception (like the sponge, a condom, or a female condom) until you talk to your healthcare provider.


Guillebaud, J. (2009). Contraception: Your Questions Answered (5th ed.). Edinburgh, UK: Elsevier.

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