Standard Days Method® Integration in India
What is Standard Days Method®?
The Standard Days Method® (SDM) is a simple fertility awareness-based method of family planning based on the timing of ovulation, the functional life of the sperm and the ovum, and the resulting likelihood of pregnancy on particular days of the menstrual cycle. Appropriate for women who usually have menstrual cycles between 26 and 32 days long, the method identifies days 8 through 19 as the fertile days. To prevent pregnancy, the couple avoids unprotected sex on the fertile days. A woman can use CycleBeads®, a color-coded string of beads, to help track the days of her menstrual cycle and see which days she is most likely to get pregnant.
Introducing SDM in India
SDM was introduced in India in 2001 with the objective of determining the feasibility and acceptability of offering SDM through community-based reproductive health programs. Pilot studies conducted with partners in rural Uttar Pradesh and urban Delhi showed that SDM appealed to women who were not currently using a family planning method and that SDM introduction contributed to an overall increase in contraceptive prevalence rates in the study areas, indicating a strong potential for SDM to address unmet need in India through community programs.
Additional research activities were conducted, including a large-scale integration study implemented in collaboration with the Government of Jharkhand in eastern India and other partners. This study demonstrated the feasibility of incorporating SDM into government programs and confirmed the results of the pilot studies: that the SDM is an attractive method to women who want to space births, that the method brings new users to family planning, and that community health workers can effectively offer the method and are in face essential for expanding access.
Under the USAID funded FAM Project, IRH collaborated with a wide range of partners to increase access to family planning and expand family planning options. Specifically, IRH is helping local organizations to integrate two modern, effective fertility awareness-based methods, including SDM into services and programs.
The purpose of this toolkit is to share the experiences, tools and resources used for integration of SDM in India. Many of the tools shared here are in Hindi, and have been tested and used during the integration of SDM in certain states of India, and are available for download and adaptation. For more information about SDM in India, visit www.irh.in.