The Standard Days Method (SDM) is a fertility awareness-based method that helps women keep track of the days of their menstrual cycle and see which days they are likely to get pregnant.
The Standard Days Method (SDM) relies on a fixed “window” of fertility that makes it easy for women to know when they are likely to become pregnant. To avoid pregnancy, a woman with cycles between 26 and 32 days long should not have unprotected intercourse on cycle days 8 through 19. A color-coded string of beads, called CycleBeads®, are used to help women keep track of the days of their menstrual cycle and see which days they are likely to get pregnant.
We first launched the SDM in 2004 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and now distribute the product in Benin, Madagascar, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Togo as part of our range of family planning methods. In 2013, we distributed 67,711 CycleBeads® , averting 49,341 DALYs and providing 101,567 CYPs.
An efficacy trial found the SDM was more than 95 percent effective with correct use and more than 88 percent with typical use among women who reported regular cycles of 26-32 days.
SDM offers women a variety of benefits:
- It is a natural family planning method with no hormones or surgical procedures necessary. Therefore, it was has no side-effects.
- One CycleBeads® will last for years, and does not need to be replaced. Therefore, it is cost-effective in the long-term.
- A client does not have to go to a medical provider or pharmacists to receive the product, but can find it non-specialized shops. When possible, SDM is integrated into the mix of other hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptive methods available for woman.
Making a Difference
Many couples in rural Nigeria lack access to family planning services and to correct information about modern contraceptive methods. Society for Family Health (SFH), a PSI affiliate, is bridging this gap with the natural modern contraceptive method known as Standard Days Method (SDM) using CycleBeads®.
SFH works with community based organizations, local governments, trained male and female community-based healthcare providers and IPC agents to promote SDM and distribute CycleBeads®. Additionally, SFH uses religious and community leaders, posters, job aids and radio dramas focused on CycleBeads® to create awareness and increase acceptance of the method.
From these efforts, SFH has found that the majority of SDM users feel the method is effective and acceptable. Users obtain information about SDM from their healthcare providers, friends, neighbors, clinics and pamphlets. Interestingly, men who are initially reticent about spacing their children also consider the method acceptable.
To date, Nigeria has distributed over 132,000 CycleBeads®, averting over 62,000 unintended pregnancies and providing 199,412 CYPs.