*Note: There are two important requirements for having natural birth control be effective:
The diaphragm itself is very soft and flexible and easy to insert. Once it's in, you won't feel it and it will never be in the way of sex. It's as easy as using a menstrual cup. At least they DO let women purchase menstrual cups over the counter without a prescription. It's so stupid they don't let diaphragms be purchased in the same way.
The diaphragm must be used with spermicide to be effective. All spermicides sold in the USA are over-the-counter, but they contain a harsh chemical called nonoxynol-9. This chemical has been banned in Europe. So I recommend purchasing a brand that does not contain this chemical. I use Contragel, which must be purchased online (ebay,amazon,etc) since it has to be shipped from Europe. The good news is, the tube will probably last you a year, which is how long it takes to expire anyway, so its perfect.
If you use fertility-tracking so that you don't have to use your diaphragm during times you KNOW you aren't fertile, then your spermicide will definitely last a full year before you have to buy more.
If you purchase the Caya diaphragm, then you automatically get a free tube of Contragel included.
I use a natural brand (Aloe Cadabra) that is 95% plain aloe vera. As a tight virgin, I definitely needed lube, but I wanted to make sure to get something that wouldn't be harsh on my insides. There are other natural brands available too. This is just the one I chose. I was actually able to find it at the local CVS pharmacy. So you may or may not have to order it online.
Find a high-quality brand so that you don't have to worry about leaks or breakage. Also find a brand that is non-lubricated. If the condom is pre-lubricated, (like 99% of the brands you find in your local drug store), there isn't much point in using a natural lube like Aloe Cadabra. My boyfriend uses Trojan non-lubricated condoms.
There are some other natural options such as: cervical cap, female condom, etc. But these methods don't have as high of a success rate so I don't really recommend them.
I recommend buying and reading this book: Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 20th Anniversary Edition
This is the most popular guide for learning how to effectively track your fertile cycle to either prevent pregnancy OR get pregnant. If you're trying to prevent pregnancy, then you avoid having sex during your fertile window or you use protection: diaphragm+spermicide+condom. If you're trying to get pregnant, you know the best time to have sex is during your fertile window.
The book provides a free downloable app for your smartphone, which is what I use to track my daily temperature and other signs of fertility.
The basic rules the book teaches:
RULES of fertility awareness:
1. Once you start your period, the first 5 days are safe. DO NOT consider the 6th day safe even if you are still bleeding.
2. Any days after this, you must be dry and have no cervical fluid to be considered "safe".
3. Once the eggwhite vaginal secretions have gone away, you are safe the 3rd day of high temperatures.
Your Peak Day is last day you have fertile cervical fluid. There should be an abrupt and dramatic drying of fluid after Peak Day.
The Peak Day is usually two days before you see a temperature jump. This is why the third day of high temperatures (AFTER the Peak Day) is considered safe (if your cervical fluid has gone dry too).
When you are at peak fertility, your body temperature will be in the 98°F degree range, your cervical fluid will be very clear and wet, and your cervix position will be very high and soft.
When you are not fertile at all, your body temperature will be lower in the 97°F degree range, your cervical fluid will either be totally dry or be very clumpy and cloudy, and your cervix position will be very low and hard.
When all three signs match (daily body temperature, cervical fluid type, cervix position) you know you cannot be fertile.
Please purchase the book and read it thoroughly. It will make sense when it's explained in detail to you.
Then you can track a few of your cycles using their phone app and become confident in the signals your body is sending you about where you are in your cycle.
Once again, if you're ultra-ultra-paranoid and just don't trust it, then use protection every time you have sex. But for myself and thousands of other women, it works and there have been no accidents.
There is no such thing as a "set it and forget it" method of birth control. EVERY method requires constant maintenance:
Pill: take same time each day.
Depo: get it every three months on time.
IUD: must check your strings
implant: check to make sure in place and not broken.
They are not set and forget. You have to check them regularly! True story from another person: "My Paragard partially expelled and I ONLY knew because I regularly checked my strings. The rod you need to feel for regularly!"
So the benefits of diaphragm+spermicide+condom+fertility-tracking method is that you don't have to mess with your body's hormones (potentially causing cancer and other medical issues), and your
uterus doesn't have to be in a constant state of low-grade inflammation (copper IUD). Copper IUD's have risks of getting stuck and requiring surgery to remove, heavier period bleeding, ectopic pregnancy, etc. Hormonal birth control
makes women gain weight, decreases sexual desire, makes them experience heavier bleeding and cramping, and have more emotional meltdowns. It fucks with a woman's hormones and it is totally unnecessary.
Research the risks and side-effects of unnatural birth control methods. And then research how easy and effective natural birth control methods are.
While condoms help prevent STDS, diaphragms can increase the risk. That's why it's so important to be in a monogamous relationship AND to make sure you eat healthy, stay hydrated, stay clean, pee after sex, etc.
Hormonal birth control is also known to increase the risk of UTIs, so don't blame it all on the diaphragm if you're not taking steps to stay clean.