Family Health Guide

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Birth Control: Diaphragm

You might think it 's a dated form of birth control, but the diaphragm is still in effect. This small, latex, dome-shaped flexible device fits inside the vagina and covers the cervix to block sperm from entering into the uterus. Used with spermicide, it's typically 80 to 85% effective at preventing pregnancy.

You'll need to be fitted by your doctor (and refitted after giving birth or weight gain). Check monthly for holes and have it replaced every 2 years. The diaphragm can be inserted up to 6 hours before sex and must be left in place for about 6 hours, but not more than 24 hours after sex

Avoid using it during your period because it can block your flow. Side effects include urinary tract infections, latex allergy and a reaction to spermicide.