Standard Days Method

It is important that both men and women are able to have some control over their own fertility. Although most people think of hormonal and barrier-type methods of birth control when they think of contraception, there are also number of natural family planning methods available to couples. Because they are easy to use and lack side effects, these natural family planning methods are becoming more and more popular. When of the newest types of birth control to fall under this category is the Standard Days Method.

What is the Standard Days Method?
The Standard Days Method (SDM) is a relatively new method of natural family planning. It can be used to help you and your partner avoid unwanted pregnancies. Developed by researchers at the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University School of Medicine, SDM helps couples to recognize when they are most fertile. This can help you to avoid having unprotected sex during fertile periods of your menstrual cycle.

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How Was The Standard Days Method Developed?
The Standard Days Method was actually developed using highly sophisticated analyses of thousands of menstrual cycles lasting between 26 and 32 days. Data from more than 7,500 different menstrual cycles was compiled and recorded by computers. This data was then analyzed in order to find out when fertile days occurred during a woman's menstrual cycle.

All aspects of fertility were taken into account, including ovulation and the typical lifespan of both sperm and eggs. Based on this information, SDM concludes that the most fertile days of a woman's cycle are Days 8 through 19.

How Do You Use the Standard Days Method?
The Standard Days Method is fairly straightforward to use. All you need to do is keep track of how long your menstrual cycle is, in order to determine when Days 8 through 19 occur.

 

  • When the first day of your period arrives, this is Day1 of your cycle. Mark this on your calendar.
  • Between Day 1 and Day 7, it is highly unlikely that you will become pregnant, so it is safe to participate in sexual intercourse without using birth control.
  • Between Day 8 and Day 19, you are at your most fertile. You and your partner should abstain from sex or you should use an alternate type of birth control, such as a condom.
  • Between Day 20 and 32 you are unlikely to get pregnant, so you can resume sexual intercourse.

 

CycleBeads and the Standard Days Method
Many women who practice SDM use CycleBeads to help them keep track of the days in their menstrual cycle. CycleBeads are a string of 32 color-coded beads, shaped into a necklace. There is a rubber ring that can be placed around individual beads on the necklace to help identify what day you are on in your cycle. There are three colors of beads on the CycleBead necklace:

 

  • Red: There is one red bead on the CycleBead necklace. This red bead stands for the first day in your menstrual cycle. It is on this day that you get your menstrual period.
  • Brown: The brown beads signify the days during your cycle when it is highly unlikely that you will get pregnant.
  • White: The white, glow-in-the-dark beads represent the fertile days of your menstrual cycle (Days 8 to 19).

 

As you move through each day of your cycle, you slip the rubber ring on a different bead. When the rubber ring is moved onto the white beads, you will know to abstain from sex or to use a form of contraception.

Who Can Use the Standard Days Method?
The Standard Days Method can be used by the majority of women, however, before you try the method it is important that you meet the following criteria:

 

  • Your menstrual cycles are regular
  • Your cycle is between 26 and 32 days long (SDM is less effective if your cycles are shorter than 26 days or longer than 32 days).
  • You and your partner are willing to abstain from intercourse or use protection during your fertile days

 

How Effective is the Standard Days Method?
When used regularly and consistently, SDM has been shown to be a highly effective birth control method. When used perfectly, only five out of every 100 women will get pregnant. This means that the method is 95% effective against pregnancy.

If you do not follow the method consistently, or if your cycle falls outside of the 26 to 32 day range, SDM will be less effective. With normal use, the Standard Days Method is approximately 88% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Benefits of Using the Standard Days Method
There are a number of benefits to using this type of natural planning method to help prevent pregnancy.

 

  • SDM is very easy to learn.
  • This method requires no calculations, record-keeping, or physical exams, unlike the rhythm method or the ovulation method.
  • The method is very inexpensive. It can be performed without CycleBeads, or CycleBeads can be purchased for around twelve dollars.
  • There are no associated birth control side effects.

 

Drawbacks to the Standard Days Method
Unfortunately, the Standard Days Method is not meant for everyone. It cannot be used effectively by women with:

 

 

Effectiveness also depends upon abstinence or the use of contraception during the fertile period. Some couples may find it difficult to temporarily abstain from sex or using an alternate form of birth control.

 

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