How does the TwoDay Method work?
The TwoDay Method identifies the fertile days in a woman’s cycle by using the presence of secretions as an indicator of fertility. Research shows that the presence of secretions facilitates the sperm reaching the ovum to fertilize it. Without secretions, the sperm cannot survive in the vagina, and therefore cannot fertilize the ovum.
When a woman uses the TwoDay Method, she asks herself each day:
1. Did I have secretions today?
2. Did I have secretions yesterday?
If she answers yes to either of these questions, she considers herself fertile. If she has her period or has seen NO secretions TODAY AND YESTERDAY, she is not likely to become pregnant.
Who can use the TwoDay Method?
A woman can use the TwoDay Method if she has healthy secretions AND she and her partner can use condoms or avoid sex on days she can become pregnant.
How effective is the TwoDay Method?
A clinical trial conducted by researchers at Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health showed that the TwoDay Method is 96% effective in preventing pregnancy with correct use and 86% with typical use. This means that of 100 women who use this method correctly for a year, between 5 and 14 could become pregnant.
What are secretions like?
“Secretions” are anything that a woman perceives as coming from her vagina other than menstrual bleeding. Generally, secretions are a clear or white liquid (not unlike egg white) that discharge from the vagina. Secretions are not always the same. As days go by, they look and feel different.
When using the TwoDay Method, it does not matter what type of secretions the woman notices (as long as they are healthy), just whether they are present or not.
Healthy secretions do not smell and do not cause pain or itchiness. If you are experiencing these symptoms, consult a health care provider.
When do secretions appear?
Although it is different for every woman, secretions generally appear a few days after your period ends. The secretions will start in very small amounts and you must pay close attention to notice them. As the days go by, the amount of secretions increases and they are easier to see and feel. After several days, the amount of secretions decreases until they disappear.
How many days with secretions is normal?
There is no exact number of days, because it varies from woman to woman. In general, the number of days with secretions can range from 5 to 14 days. Remember that this method is based on biological signs that can be influenced by different circumstances. As a woman continues to use the method, she will learn her own pattern and note that it will not vary much from month to month. However, there are circumstances that could delay or speed up the presence of secretions. If a woman is paying attention to her secretions, she can determine when her fertile window begins and ends.
Does a woman need to touch herself to see if secretions are present?
Not necessarily. A woman has the option of checking for secretions when she goes to the bathroom OR feeling them as she goes about her daily activities. Some women opt to touch themselves to be sure whether or not secretions are present. Some women prefer to check for secretions using toilet paper rather than their fingers. It is not necessary for her to touch herself, but until she is used to feeling the presence of secretions, it is recommended that she look for them on toilet paper or her underwear, particularly the days immediately following her period.
What should I do if I forget to check for secretions?
If you cannot remember if you had secretions today or not, it is recommended to treat today like you DID have secretions, just in case. Remember that when your secretions begin, they will continue for several days in a row until they disappear, and your period begins again.
Is it necessary to wash or use douches to have healthy secretions?
No! Secretions are the way in which the woman’s body cleans the vagina. Washing yourself inside your vagina or douching makes it harder to know if you have had secretions and are on a day when pregnancy is possible. The vagina cleans itself. It is not necessary to wash inside the vagina or use douches.
Are secretions always related to fertility?
Secretions will appear in the woman’s cycle every month as part of the process her body during her menstrual cycle. Secretions also facilitate the sperm reaching the ovum to fertilize it. Without secretions, the sperm cannot survive in the vagina, and therefore cannot fertilize the ovum.
For the simplicity and ease of use of the TwoDay Method, users are not asked to differentiate between the different types of secretions. The presence of secretions TODAY or YESTERDAY indicate a possibility of pregnancy.
If secretions appear to be unhealthy (smell bad, are painful or cause itching), consult a health care provider.
Can couples who wish to become pregnant use the TwoDay Method?
Yes. Couples can use the TwoDay Method to identify the fertile days when a woman can get pregnant. They should have sex on those days to increase the possibility of achieving a pregnancy. This is a good first step to identifying a woman’s fertile time.
Can a woman who just had a baby, and whose period has not yet returned, use the TwoDay Method?
Yes, however if a woman is breastfeeding or recently used a hormonal method, she could see more days with secretions than other women. That is to say, a woman who recently had a baby can use the TwoDay Method, but she will have to avoid sex or use condoms for more days to prevent a pregnancy, because she will see secretions on more days than other women.
Can I use this method if I recently used a hormonal birth control option?
Yes. However, hormonal birth control options can affect a woman’s secretions. There could be more days with secretions while the body returns to normal after stopping the previous method. This does not affect the efficacy of the method, but could increase the number of fertile days because of the increased days with secretions.
Can I use this method if I recently had a miscarriage or an abortion?
Yes. However, a miscarriage or an abortion can affect a woman’s secretions. The number of days with secretions could be higher while the body returns to normal after the miscarriage or abortion. This does not affect the efficacy of the method, but could increase the number of fertile days because of the increased days with secretions.
What is the difference between a woman’s menstrual cycle and her menstruation?
The woman’s menstrual cycle is not the same as menstruation. Simply, menstruation is the days in which the woman is experiencing her monthly bleeding (period). Her cycle encompasses all the days from the first day of her period until the day before the start of her next period.
The first day of her period is Day 1 of her cycle. Counting each day, starting from Day 1, and continuing until the day before she starts her next period, a woman can know the length of her cycle. The TwoDay Method does not have a cycle length requirement.
What is ovulation?
Ovulation is the release of the ovum by the woman’s ovary. A woman’s ovary releases an ovum almost every menstrual cycle. Thousands of ova exist in the woman’s ovaries. Hormones (natural chemicals) in the body cause the release of one of these ova each cycle. When the ovum is ready to be fertilized (that is to say, when it has matured to the point where it can be joined with the man’s sperm, and the woman can become pregnant), it leaves the ovary and moves through the woman’s fallopian tube to the uterus. If the man’s sperm has fertilized the ovum, it can attach itself to the uterus and the woman is pregnant.
Can a woman get pregnant at any point during her cycle?
No. Research shows that there are a limited number of days during which a woman can become pregnant: a few days before ovulation and the day of ovulation. These days may not be the same every cycle, given that the woman does not ovulate at the same time each cycle.
How does this differ from other symptoms-based family planning methods?
Unlike other symptoms-based family planning methods that observe secretions, TwoDay Method relies solely on the presence or absence of secretions today and yesterday to determine the fertility status of the user each day. The TwoDay Method is simpler than others; there is no need for the user to identify the type of secretions she observes, merely that she has noted them.
When do I need to consult a health provider?
If you are experiencing smelly secretions or secretions that are causing pain or itchiness, consult a healthcare provider. If you would like to talk with someone about fertility awareness methods or switching to another method of family planning, consult a healthcare provider.