Standard Days Method

IMPORTANT: A woman can use the Standard Days Method if most of her menstrual cycles are 26 to 32 days long. If she has more than 2 longer or shorter cycles within a year, the Standard Days Method will be less effective and she may want to choose another method.

Keep track of the days of the menstrual cycle
  • A woman keeps track of the days of her menstrual cycle, counting the first day of monthly bleeding as day 1.
Avoid unprotected sex on days 8–19
  • Days 8 through 19 of every cycle are considered fertile days for all users of the Standard Days Method.
  • The couple avoids vaginal sex or uses condoms or a diaphragm during days 8 through 19. They can also use withdrawal or spermicides, but these are less effective.
  • The couple can have unprotected sex on all the other days of the cycle—days 1 through 7 at the beginning of the cycle and from day 20 until her next monthly bleeding begins.
Use memory aids if needed
  • The couple can use CycleBeads, a color-coded string of beads that indicates fertile and nonfertile days of a cycle, or they can mark a calendar or use some other memory aid.
How to use