Can You Get Pregnant Despite Using a Diaphragm for Contraception?
- Getting pregnant while using a diaphragm is possible because no contraceptive is 100 percent safe.
- A diaphragm is designed to block the cervix. It functions as a seal, preventing sperm from passing through. This can be combined with a chemical barrier (by coating the diaphragm with a spermicide) to kill any sperm that reaches the diaphragm. Despite this, 1-20 in 100 women who use a diaphragm for contraception become pregnant within one year.
- This page addresses the reasons behind a contraceptive failure and what your next steps could be should you be pregnant despite using a diaphragm.
Chances of Getting Pregnant with Diaphragm
The Pearl Index measures the effectiveness of each contraceptive type. The effectiveness rate for diaphragms is 1 - 20 even when used in combination with a spermicidal gel. This means that, on average, 1 to 20 in 100 women become pregnant within a year while using a diaphragm for contraception.
You may become pregnant with a diaphragm if:
- the cervix is not completely sealed.
- the diaphragm is the wrong size. (The diaphragm must be refitted after weight fluctuations of more than 6 lbs (3 kg) and after giving birth.) The correct fit must be checked regularly in growing adolescents.
- the diaphragm is removed too soon after sexual intercourse. (It needs to stay in place for at least eight hours.)
- the diaphragm is damaged or has material defects.
Positioning and timing are essential; it must fit perfectly to be effective. The woman inserts the diaphragm deep into the vagina, completely covering the cervix, 30 minutes to a maximum of two hours before intercourse.
Other requirements for the diaphragm’s effectiveness are: correct size, free of defects, and used in combination with a spermicidal gel. It is recommended to have your gynecologist check the fit every two years.
Scared I Am Pregnant Despite Diaphragm
If you are still unsure whether you are pregnant, try to gain clarity as soon as possible. Living in uncertainty can be exhausting and draining.
- Consider whether you have noticed any typical signs of early pregnancy or have missed your period.
- 🤰 Perhaps our Online Pregnancy Test can provide an initial evaluation of how likely you are to be pregnant.
- Or you can use a home pregnancy test, available at pharmacies and drugstores. Want to know how soon you can take one and how it is done? Click here
Pregnant With Diaphragm?! Where to Go from Here
If you just found out you are pregnant, you are probably experiencing a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. You may feel like your whole world is falling apart with no firm direction on where to go from here. You are doing the best thing possible by seeking information and support amid this challenging situation! Here are some tips on what to do next:
- 🕰 Let the news sink in. Allow yourself time to come to terms with this situation. There is no need to rush! You are worth more than a quick fix! The legal parameters usually give you plenty of time. Go to: Until when can I have an abortion?
- If you are deliberating whether to have an abortion or keep the baby, you are invited to participate in our weeklong Decision Coaching. You would receive a daily email for seven days, which includes thought-provoking ideas and stories of other pregnant women. 👩💻Click here for more information and prompts for signing up!
- ⛑ Looking for more counsel but not ready for a seven-day commitment? Take our First Aid Test!
You are not alone! Allow us to walk alongside you. We want to create a judgment-free environment where you feel safe and heard.
In case you were wondering, the lubricant used in combination with the diaphragm has no known harmful effects on the baby. Feel free to consult your doctor for more information.
You may also like:
- All About Diaphragm Birth Control: Medical News Today (24.12.2021).
- Diaphragm: Mayo Clinic (24.12.2021).
- Nicht-homonelle Kontrazeption (Non-Hormonal Contraception). Pearl-Index: AMBOSS GmbH (15.08.2023)
- Nicht-homonelle Kontrazeption. Vaginaldiaphragma (Non-Hormonal Contraception. Vaginal Diaphragm): AMBOSS GmbH (15.08.2023)