In light of the recent recall of several lots of the Pill (in which pills were packed in the wrong order), you might be on the hunt for alternative birth control options. Happily, there’s some good news: a non-hormonal birth control method called the Standard Days Method (often used with a special string of beads called CycleBeads) is gaining traction as a safe, effective method. In fact, say US researchers, CycleBeads, with a 95% effectiveness rate, are even better than condoms at preventing pregnancy.
Plus: Find out your best babymaking days with our Fertility Calculator
The Standard Days Method (SDM) is a fertility awareness-based method that including tracking a woman’s menstrual cycle and abstaining from unprotected vaginal intercourse during her peak fertile time. To use the SDM, a woman needs to have regular cycles that are never shorter than 26 days or longer than 32 days—and she can’t have unprotected vaginal intercourse on days 8 through 19 of each cycle. To keep track of all of this, many women turn to CycleBeads.
Developed by the Institute for Reproductive Health at Georgetown University, CycleBeads are a necklace-like strand of 32 color-coded beads which show the days of your menstrual period, your fertility window and days when pregnancy is unlikely. On the first day of your period, you move a rubber ring to the red bead, and start counting from there. Brown beads are your (mostly) baby-proof zone, and bright white beads mean it could be baby time.
Plus: Which birth control method is right for you?
A study that tracked almost 1700 women in multiple countries who used CycleBeads for three years found that women used this method effectively, and that they plan to continue using it. Another study found that women using CycleBeads for one year had a 95% success rate in avoiding pregnancy, which is more than condoms or diaphragms.
Plus: All about birth control, from postpartum to permanent
Have you used (or would you consider using) CycleBeads as a birth control method? What’s your preferred method of birth control?