Standard Days Method

What is Standard Days Method?

Standard Days Method (SDM) is based on fertility awareness and helps women recognize the days when they are most fertile during their menstrual cycle. Depending on a couple’s desires, this method can either help a woman get pregnant by having intercourse during her fertile days, or help a woman not get pregnant by either abstaining or using a back up method during her fertile days.

How Does SDM Work?

SDM is based on women’s physiology. A woman is fertile 6 days each month (five days before ovulation plus the day of ovulation). Sperm can live up to 5 days in a woman’s reproductive track and ovum can be fertilized for up to 24 hours following ovulation. Typically ovulation occurs around the middle of the menstrual cycle. Considering these facts, SDM identifies 12 days in which a woman is most likely fertile. During this time, women should abstain from sex or use protection if they want to avoid pregnancy.

Using CycleBeads with SDM

The Institute for Reproductive Health created CycleBeads as a teaching tool and resource for women interested in the SDM.

  • The 12 white beads indicate the “fertile window” in which couples should use contraception to avoid pregnancy. This window takes into account the life span of the ovum, the viable life of sperm, and variable timing of ovulation from one cycle to the next.
  • The brown beads indicate days in which it is unlikely to get pregnant.
  • The red bead indicates the beginning of a woman’s cycle (the first day of her menstrual period).

Who Should Use SDM?

  • Women with menstrual cycles between 26 to 32 days
  • Couples who are not at risk for STIs
  • Couples who choose to avoid pregnancy

How Effective is SDM?

Typical use is about 88% effective
Perfect use is 95% effective

Advantages of SDM

  • Non-hormonal
  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to learn and use

Disadvantages of SDM

  • Does not protect against STIs
  • May be difficult for some couples to avoid unprotected intercourse during the fertile days of the woman’s cycle.
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