So you want to implement natural family planing and you want the most basic, yet still effective method possible. Welcome to the standard days method. SDM was developed at Georgetown University and is the first method of Fertility Awareness to be clinically tested and introduced on an international scale in over twenty years.
To develop the method, researchers used data from the World Health Organization to determine the probability of pregnancy based on the average menstrual cycle. Counting the first day of menstruation as day 1, they determined that days 8 to 19 were the most likely fertile window. So in order to practice SDM, couples will simply avoid having sex, or use another method of contraception during those eleven days.
Who Can Use the Standard Days Method?
The standard days method is most effective for women whose cycles last between 26 and 32 days. The standard days method is very simple to learn but still should be taught by a trained counselor, who will make sure you understand it sufficiently before relying on it for contraception.
How to Use the Standard Days Method
To use the SDM you will need to count the days of your menstrual cycle, starting with the first day your period begins.
Count the first day of your period as day 1.
On days 1 to 7 you are not fertile and can have unprotected intercourse (provided neither partner has a STD, it is medically safe to have sex even while menstruating).
On days 8 to 19 you must avoid sex or use a barrier contraceptive if you do not want to get pregnant.
From day 20 until your period starts you can have unprotected sex.
Most women who use this method use CycleBeads to help keep track of where they are in their cycle. This visual tool helps keep track of your cycle by moving a rubber band one day at a time on a ring of color coded beads. The band on the white beads signifies the highly fertile time of your cycle, while the red beads mean that you can have unprotected sex without the risk of pregnancy.
Efficiency of the Standard Days Method
Although the perfect use failure rate is only 5%, unfortunately, the typical failure rate of this method is 12% per year. This rate will be even higher for women who have sex during the fertile time, even if using another method of birth control during that interval.
Benefits and Limitations of the Standard Days Method
Because this method is completely natural, it addresses the needs of diverse populations with varied religious and ethical beliefs. It also provides an effective alternative for women who want to use natural methods for medical or personal reasons. Other advantages of standard days method include the ease of use, low cost, and complete lack of side-effects and health risks.
However, the level of protection is not extraordinarily high, and many women may feel insecure relying it. In addition, because it does not take your specific pattern of ovulation into account, the fertility window must be assumed to be longer then it would be if you knew your unique ovulation date. And of course, the standard days method does not offer any protection against sexually transmitted disease.
So what would we recommend? Why don't you head over to our page on the Sympto-Thermal method. It allows you to track your exact ovulation date, and provides an outstanding reliability rate of 99%. And with Cyclotest, there is no need do any charting or calculations. It is virtually as easy as the standard days method. Just click a button, take your waking temperature each more right from the Cyclotest device, and all the information you need about your fertility will be displayed for you. It really can't get any better then that!