Little attention has been paid to the diaphragm as a contraceptive option for adolescents. To compare diaphragm and birth control pill use by adolescents, 124 females (aged 13-20 years) in a suburban-based adolescent health service were interviewed at least one year after receiving a contraceptive prescription. The 73 diaphragm choosers did not differ from the 51 pill choosers in age, race, or reason for their original visit to the health service. Diaphragm choosers, however, were better students, of higher socioeconomic status, and had had fewer prior pregnancies. In the year following prescription, continuous use for 12 months was reported by 43% of diaphragm choosers and 45% of pill choosers, with significantly more pill (26%) than diaphragm (8%) choosers reporting discontinued use for at least one month while remaining sexually active. Regular use (diaphragm every intercourse, missing ≤ 1 pill/month) was reported by 36% of diaphragm choosers compared to 88% of pill choosers; and at least one pregnancy during the year was reported by 15% of diaphragm choosers and 18% of pill choosers. At follow-up interviews, diaphragm subjects disliked the immediate annoyances of the diaphragm, and pill users expressed concern about the potential side effects of the pill. No single factor or set of factors correlated with continuous and regular use of either method. Because both methods present specific problems for certain patients, we suggest that in addition to the pill, the diaphragm should receive serious consideration as a contraceptive option for adolescents.
- Birth control pill