Image of a lock indicating safety, for natural family planning (safe days)

Safe days: pros and cons

Many people rely on safe days as their main birth control method. But that can be quite a risk. Find out more about safe days and their pros and cons.

What is it?  

Before we dive into the pros and cons, let’s make sure we know what safe days are.

It’s easiest to get pregnant halfway through the menstrual cycle – during ovulation. If you have unprotected days a few days before, during, or just after ovulation, you are likely to get pregnant. People use this knowledge to calculate ‘safe days’: the days when you are at a low risk of conceiving if you have unprotected sex.

  • It’s natural

    Many people don’t want to use hormonal birth control methods because it’s not fully clear what happens to our bodies when we put artificial hormones into it.

    Counting safe days is completely natural and doesn’t require any medication. That also means that there are no side effects.  

    That’s also an advantage if you want to have a baby in the near future – you don’t need to wait for your cycle to normalise after having taken birth control for a while.

  • There’s help

    You can use quite a few tools to help you calculate your safe days. This includes measuring your body temperature every morning, using apps to log your symptoms, and tracking symptoms, such as vaginal discharge.

    The more you understand and track your cycle, the less likely you will be to become pregnant unexpectedly. So you will need to read a lot before getting started for the best results.

  • It’s cheap

    Counting your safe days is a cheap way to avoid pregnancies. Unless you want to invest in a thermometer to measure your temperature daily, all you need is a calendar or a free app, and you are good to go.

  • High risk of pregnancy

    Twenty-five out of 100 women who use only safe days to prevent pregnancy for a year get pregnant. So, compared to other birth control methods, there is a really high risk of getting pregnant.  

    That means that, if you absolutely do not want to get pregnant, this is not a good method for you.

  • You need regular periods

    Safe days will only work for you if you have a very regular cycle. If your cycle is very different every time, it will be much, much harder to accurately track your cycle and hence your safe days. If you have irregular periods, safe days might not be a good option for you and you should look into different birth control methods.

  • Meticulous

    This is a birth control method that needs you to be meticulous. You need to check and chart, and you cannot skip that. You need to continuously have your cycle on your mind – otherwise, you are at risk of getting pregnant.

  • Need for backup

    You still need to plan for a back-up. Biologically, women are more into sex just before they ovulate (the higher risk days). So, if you feel like you want to have some fun between the sheets during that period, you need to think about a backup method then.

Do you have questions about safe days? Ask our forum moderators for help today.

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Recent Comments (16)

    1. Hi Jane, safe days are one…

      Hi Jane, safe days are one of the most unreliable ways to prevent pregnancy, and we really don’t recommend it at all. When your safe days are really depends on the length of your cycle. Technically speaking, the first seven days before and after your period, as well as the time of your period, are relatively safe. But, if you have a shorter cycle (shorter than 28 days), or an irregular one, this will vary. Also keep in mind that sperm can survive for up to five days and longer inside the body- so even if you have sex on a ‘safe’ day, you can still get pregnant, because the sperm survived until your ovulation date. So you see, it’s a very inaccurate. And lastly, of course this won’t protect you from STDs. Only condoms will. So we really recommend a more reliable method. 

  1. I had never known how to…
    I had never known how to calc my safe days. Thank you for this article.

    1. You are welcome Chelsea.

      You are welcome Chelsea.

  2. How can a gal with irregular…
    How can a gal with irregular cycle count her safe days

  3. I usually bleed 2 times in a…
    I usually bleed 2 times in a month all my friends is just once why?

    1. Hello Leah, 

      First, all…

      Hello Leah, 

      First, all women are not the same, their menstrual cycle varies from one woman to the other. It is therefore important that you understand your own cycle. Different women’s cycles vary between 21 and 42 days. So when you say you bleed two times a month, how long is your cycle? Is it less than 21 days? If your cycle is taking shorter than 21 days then you may consider seeking medical advice. Check out this article for more information on menstruation:

  4. Is it really true that 15…
    Is it really true that 15 days from the time I start my period I can get a baby boy

    1. Hello Aneva, thank you for…

      Hello Aneva, thank you for reaching out. Yes, it is very possible that you can conceive but there is no scientific evidence to prove that it shall result in conceiving a boy. 

  5. Why is it that when ever I…
    Why is it that when ever I swallow pills I always feel like vomiting does it mean that that is not the good family planning method for me

    1. Hello Ivine, thank you so…

      Hello Ivine, thank you so much for reaching out and asking a great question. If you feel like vomiting everyone you take the pill, then you are correct in assuming that it is not the best family planning method for you. Click here to find out more on contraception and methods that may be more suited to your physiology: 
      We also recommend visiting your medical practitioner to advise you on the best form of contraception. Happy Easter!

  6. Am a virgin and I do want…
    Am a virgin and I do want sex which is best family planning for me since I don’t want to be pregnant.
    Then I need help on how to count my menstural cycle

    1. Hello Eliza, thank you for…

      Hello Eliza, thank you for reaching out to us. Your cycle lasts from the first day of your period to the first day of your next period. You will need to keep count for a few months to truly note the length and if it is irregular or not. You could use the period tracking apps to help you keep track.

      When it comes to birth control it is best to visit a medical practitioner who will help determine the best birth control method based on your age, weight, sexual habits etc.

  7. Can someone get pregnant…
    Can someone get pregnant during menstrual periods

  8. Hi Pasha, thank you for…

    Hi Pasha, thank you for getting in touch and we are so glad you have asked a great question. 

    Pregnancy is still possible. The chances of becoming pregnant during menstruation are extremely small, but it can still happen. Though generally, it is a very safe time to have unprotected sex if you’re trying to avoid pregnancy, a man’s sperm has the ability to survive inside the woman’s body for a few days and there is a small chance that early ovulation could cause pregnancy. Click here to find out more on this:

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