Standard Days/Calendar Method

This method involves keeping track of the days of a woman’s menstrual cycle and identifying the start and end of the fertile period.  Couples must abstain from sex or use a contraceptive method on those days. This method is reliable in women with regular menstrual cycles between 26 and 32 days long.

Note: Condoms are the only contraceptive methods which protect against sexually transmitted infections. To ensure protection from both pregnancy and infection, we recommend "dual protection". This means using a a male or female condom in addition to the contraceptive method of your choice to prevent pregnancy.

  • How good is the Standard Days Method at preventing pregnancy?
    • If one hundred women used the Standard Days Method consistently and correctly and carried on with their normal sex life, five would get pregnant.
    • Because this method is difficult to use, as commonly used about twenty-five women out of one hundred would get pregnant within a year of using this method.
  • What are the advantages of the Standard Days Method?
    • The Standard Days Method has no side effects.
    • This method is allowed within some religious and cultural beliefs that are against modern contraceptive methods.
    • This method does not require any special supplies or visits to a health provider.This method can help women understand their bodies, and also help women who want to get pregnant.
    • This method can encourage male involvement and couple communication.
  • What are the disadvantages of the Standard Days Method?
    • This method cannot be used by women with irregular periods, breastfeeding women (who have not yet resumed their menstrual bleeding) or women with cycles that are not between 26-32 days long. If a woman has 2 or more cycles outside of this length within a year, it is not recommended to use this method.
    • This method requires abstaining from sex or using another contraceptive for 12 days of a woman’s cycle each month (days 8-19), which may be difficult for many couples.
    • This method requires keeping track of a woman’s cycle on a regular basis.  
    • This method does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV.