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Posts in: Womens Health

Are There Different Types of Fertility Apps?

Fertility apps are gaining more and more popularity these days but do you know the different types? Is an app designed to track your period and moods the same as one designed for pregnancy planning and prevention? Is an app that reminds you to take your birth control pill each day the same as one that gives you information about whether or not you're fertile today? Hint: No.

Let us break it down for you. There are three types of “fertility apps”:

 

  1. Family Planning Apps - Apps that can be used as birth control and for pregnancy planning. These apps are based on one of the few proven family planning methods, including Standard Days Method, TwoDay Method, Sympto-Thermal Method, and Ovulation Method. They require different inputs from users depending on which method is used. There are only a handful of family planning apps. They include: DotCycleBeadsTwoDay Method, and Kindara.
     

  2. Pregnancy Planning-Only Apps - These apps aim to help you get pregnant. They may or may not use a scientifically proven algorithm or method. These apps tend to use a general rule or proprietary algorithm, but it’s unclear which method is being used. They often include features that address women’s pregnancy planning concerns, i.e. nutritional journals, community forums, etc. They include: OviaGlowand many others. They are often confused with Period Tracking Journals which offer some of the same information.
     

  3. Period Tracking Journals - Apps that let you track all kinds of information related to your period and menstrual cycle, and which should be used for informational purposes only - though they may be helpful if you are trying to get pregnant. There are hundreds of these and they vary from the basic to the involved. They includePink PadPeriod TrackerClueEve, and HUNDREDS of others.

 

​So what should you look for in your fertility app? The most important thing is to KNOW YOUR GOAL. If you are looking for an app to help you plan or prevent pregnancy, make sure you know what method it uses and are comfortable with using that method. And make sure it comes from a respected source. 

 

Where do Cycle Technologies’ apps fit into this? Our goal is to provide women with contraceptive solutions that meet their needs.  All of our apps - Dot, CycleBeads, andTwoDay Method, are family planning apps. They are based on proven, effective family planning methods. These methods are designed to be exceptionally easy to use, which is how they are different than other family planning apps. But we’ll leave that for another post.

 

 

Posted in: Contraceptive Options, Fertility Awareness, Natural Birth Control, mHealth, Technology, Womens Health

Meeting Women's Family Planning Needs in India

Women everywhere want contraceptive options that meet their individual needs. Women in India, a nation poised to be the most populous country in the world in the next few years, are no exception. According to national health surveys, 20.5% of Indian women have an unmet need for contraception.

Of those women who have used a contraceptive method, female sterilization is the most common method used with 35.8% of women having used it followed by the "rhythm method" (15.9%), male condoms (13.2%), and withdrawal (9.3%). Clearly women in India need a more comprehensive range of family planning options. But it's not just about offering more options, it's about really understanding their needs and what they want. 

Posted in: International Family Planning, CycleBeads, Womens Health, Birth Control Options, Contraceptive Options, Education

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In Honor of Earth Day: Green Up Your Sex Life With These 4 Reminders

 

 Ann Mullen Director of Health Education at Cycle Technologies Reminders on how to Green-up your sex life
 

Having worked with natural birth control methods for the past fourteen years, we know that besides them being viable, effective methods, they appeal to eco-conscientious people and people concerned about which substances they put in their bodies.  And as one thing leads to another (*ahem*), other products associated with our sex lives have come to our attention.  So in recognition of Earth Day, let’s take a peek at some options and raise our sense of responsibility to a new level. Let’s green up our sex lives!

Here are four things to think about for an eco-conscious and body-safe sex life:

1. Condoms

Did you know there was such a thing as vegan condoms? Fair trade? Cruelty free? Yes, indeed, there is a new wave of eco-friendly condom brands now available.  The Swedish brand, RFSU, was the first vegan condom introduced in U.S. and is available through the Ozone Condom Shop.  There are American brands now, too, such as Sustain and Sir Richard’s.  You can purchase through their websites or at select natural products stores.

How are these condoms different than your run-of-the-mill drug-store condom?
 

  • • They are vegan, not compounded with animal- or dairy by-products (casein), which are common in conventional condoms.  

• They are not tested on animals.

• They are made of rubber from fair trade companies and sustainably harvested sources.

 

Bonus: most of these companies have a social-good component, in which they partner with or donate to programs in need. (Pictured: Caryn Thompson, O!Zone owner visiting RFSU factory in Sweden.)


 

Green up your sex life with these reminders

2. Lubes

For goodness sake, be nice to your tender parts! Things to think about when choosing a personal lubricant:

  • • Generally consider water- or aloe-based lubricants.

  • • Keep away from ingredients that may irritate or even cause breakdown of internal linings or encourage yeast infection, such as parabens and petrochemicals.  Glycerin may also not be appropriate for women susceptible to yeast infections.

  • • Oils may be good for external play, but are not intended for vaginal sex or to be used with condoms.

• Silicone lubes are inert and usually hypoallergenic and last longer than water-based lubricants. They may be desired in instances, such as in hot tubs, for anal sex, or for women experiencing dryness due to menopause, but are not intended to be used with condoms or silicone sex toys, and may not be optimal for all women for vaginal sex.

 

Examples of brands that adhere to eco-friendly standards for ingredients and sustainability: Good Clean Love; Sustain.

(Pictured: Anastasia Harris, Good Clean Love at Natural Products Expo)

 

3. Sex Toys

• Choose non-porous materials, such as silicone, that do not absorb moisture or harbor germs.

• Cleaning – use mild, natural cleansers that will not leave a harmful residue that could irritate sensitive body parts

4. Post-play Clean Up

• Again, be gentle with yourself.  Choose mild cleansers, not harsh ones like commercial deodorant soaps.  Diva Wash is a good option, originally designed to be used with the silicone Diva Cup, it is also a gentle body wash that can be used on sensitive body parts as well as silicone sex toys.
 

• If you’re on the go and can’t shower, gentle body wipes are a good alternative.

Examples are the ones from NatraCare or Sustain.

So think about sustainability on Earth Day, and enjoy yourself!   ;-)

(Examples of eco-friendly products for greening up your sex life.)

If you have questions please contact us at info@cycletechnologies.com

 

Posted in: Birth Control Cost, Womens Health, Education, Contraceptive Options

Fertility Awareness Methods Are Modern Contraceptives According to Global Health Organizations

 

Global Health: Science and Practice 2016, "Fertility Awareness Methods: Distinctive Modern Contraceptives" 

 

Couples and individuals have the right to decide when they want to have children - if at all. Today, we have a range of contraceptive options. However, with all the options available to us, globally there are still an estimated 222 million women who have an unmet need for family planning. And although significant strides have been made to fill these gaps, having FULL CHOICE and FULL ACCESS to contraceptives is paramount if we are to achieve FP2020 goals or the Sustainable Development Goals or any other goal for that matter. 

 

 

Adding effective, science-based fertility awareness methods to the contraceptive method mix brings new users to family planning and addresses unmet family planning needs. In fact fertility awareness methods can address many of the reasons that women cite for not using contraception even when they don’t want to get pregnant.

But there are those who question whether fertility awareness methods are actually “modern methods”. After all, people have been claiming to use these types of methods for centuries.

WHAT MAKES FAMS ‘‘MODERN’’?

In a powerful peer-reviewed commentary, the Office of Population and Reproductive Health of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) laid out their technical position for classifying fertility awareness methods as modern contraceptives.  As described in the position, USAID supports FAMs as modern contraceptives because these methods meet the criteria for a modern contraceptive because they:

1. Are effective at pregnancy prevention,  

2. Are safe,  

3. Are based on a sound understanding of reproductive biology,  

4. Include a defined protocol for correct use, and  

5. Have been tested in appropriately designed studies to assess effectiveness under various conditions.

One last note that the authors point out that we consider a bonus is that fertility awareness methods do not require any clinical intervention. 

If you'd like more information on the topic or would like to learn more about our simple, effective family planning solutions, please visit CycleBeads®, Dot®, and TwoDay Method®.

Posted in: Fertility Awareness, Research, Womens Health, Education, International Family Planning

New EduSeries on Time To Pregnancy: Can You Get Pregnant Faster?

Can a fertility app get you pregnant FASTER? Is infertility the inability to conceive? Should I believe the "hype" around infertility? In this CT EduSeries webinar, fertility researcher, Dr. Richard Fehring answers question on how long it takes to get pregnant, what the reasons are, and whether fertility aids, such as fertility apps and monitors can actually help. Hosted by Cycle Technologies Director of Health Education, Ann Mullen.  
 
Cycle Tecnologies conducts a series of educational programs for those in the field of reproductive health, family planning, and global health. CT EduSeries events include webinars with health experts, customized virtual trainings for health clinics and the general public, on-site training in the DC metro area, and live trainings at the Cycle Technologies headquarters in Washington, DC. A vision at Cycle Technologies is for all women to be empowered with science-based, family planning solutions that help address unmet need and, we believe that the EduSeries events help inform our audience of timely topics and conversations in these fields.

If you'd like to participate in an upcoming CT EduSeries, please drop us a line, follow us on twitter and like us on facebook

Posted in: Pregnancy, Research, Technology, Education, Womens Health

Top 3 Tips for Period Tracking

With all of the different ways to track your menstrual cycle these days, including a plethora of high-tech, period-tracking apps and online calendars, it's easy to lose sight of which information is most important. So, what are the basic things you should keep in mind?  Cycle Technologies EduSeries host, Ann Mullen, spoke with women's health expert, Dr. Nerys Benfield, OB-GYN, to find out. The EduSeries interview below with Dr. Benfield includes her top three tips to help you gain a better understanding of period tracking and the reasons you may wish to do it. 

Posted in: Womens Health, Interviews with Health Providers, Fertility, Technology

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Trying to Conceive? These Five Tips May Help You Get Pregnant Faster.

When we're trying to conceive, many of us drive ourselves crazy trying to figure out exactly when we're most likely to get pregnant. We buy ovulation prediction kits, we download apps that promise to show us our Peak Day, and we tell our partners that they have to be "on call" when we think we're ovulating. It may sound counter-intuitive, but attempting to predict or pinpoint your exact day of ovulation is not necessary for becoming pregnant. And being fixated on it may actually hurt your chances, if you aren't having intercourse throughout your potential fertile window. Fortunately, there are simple, effective guidelines that can help you take much of the stress out of trying to get pregnant.

General Guidelines for Getting Pregnant Quickly

It is helpful - and a relief -  to know that when women target intercourse for the high-probability time of their cycles, they become pregnant as quickly as when they try to plan for an exact day of ovulation. Experts recommend that you have intercourse two to three times a week during your potentially fertile time, so you can be confident that you won't be missing your opportunity to conceive that cycle.  With this plan, most fertile women achieve pregnancy in one to three months, and if you are not pregnant in six months, it's time for a fertility evaluation for both you AND your partner.

How can you identify your potentially fertile days?  

While there are only six days during your cycle when pregnancy is possible (the five days before ovulation and the day of ovulation), these days move around from one cycle to the next and it's not possible to identify in advance exactly when these six days will occur. There are a few different approaches to identifying your potentially fertile days - the three with which we work are Standard Days Method®, Dynamic Optimal Timing™, and TwoDay Method®. Other fertility awareness methods require more extensive tracking, such as taking your temperature daily and checking cervical position.  All scientifically based fertility awareness methods identify approximately 10-14 days as potentially fertile during a given cycle.  

Other Factors

Keep in mind, it's not only ovulation that determines whether you can get pregnant. There are other factors that play a role during any particular cycle, such as sperm quality, receptivenss of the uterus, and so on. But by and large, if you begin by targeting your high probability days, you can take away the uncertainty of predicting when you can get pregnant. 

Ok. So to recap - here's a quick run down for you blog scanners:

1. Don't stress. 

2. Have sex regularly on potentially fertile days.

3. Focusing too much on your exact day of ovulation may actually hurt your chances of conceiving.

4. If you're not preggers within 6 months of trying, then you AND your partner should have a check up.

5. Have fun.

Posted in: Fertility, Fertility Awareness, Pregnancy, Research, Womens Health, CycleBeads

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It's Here - A New Family Planning Option!

We are so proud to introduce a new period tracking and fertility management app called Dot™. Dot uses the latest in science and technology to identify a woman's conception risks using just her period start dates. Working with data scientists and reproductive health experts, Cycle Technologies developed the Dynamic Optimal Timing™ approach which powers Dot.

Based on the incredible success of CycleBeads, and the feedback we've had from women around the world about this family planning method, we knew there was an opportunity to create a new innovation in this space. Dot works for almost all women*, tailors to your individual cycle lengths, and is shown to be highly accurate and effective. 

To find out more about Dot, visit the website: www.DotTheApp.com or download Dot the app in iTunes here.

* Dot is designed for women with cycles between 20-40 days long who have less than 10 days variation from their longest to shortest cycles. 

 

 

Posted in: Natural Birth Control, Technology, Womens Health, Contraceptive Options, CycleBeads

Cycle Technologies Hosts CT EduSeries Webinar on Birth Control Options & Effectiveness with Reproductive Health Experts, Dr. Victoria Jennings and Dr. Jeffrey Spieler

Cycle Technologies EduSeries Webinar Recap
"Which Birth Control Method Will Work for You?"
By Ann Mullen, Vice President & Director of Health Education, Cycle Technologies

The birth control method that will work best for you is the method that you choose, not the one that someone else chooses for you. That is a main conclusion from the latest CT EduSeries webinar conducted with reproductive health experts, Dr. Victoria Jennings and Dr. Jeffrey Spieler.  I sat down with them for a chat to find out what methods are available and what you need to think about when deciding on a method for yourself.

Many women are unfamiliar with what makes a birth control method effective. There's the tested rate, and then there's "real world" use. The tested rate is the scientifically controlled result of a test group using a method consistently with no errors for a year. This is called Efficacy. Then there is Effectiveness, which is how the method pans out in real life with typical use.  Usually, the real-world effectiveness is lower than perfect use (which makes sense!), but we learned in the webinar that personal factors can make a method closer to perfect, or less than typical, based on the behavior of the user.  

If you are on the Pill, do you always take it on time? Or do you sometimes forget?  If you use a Fertiity Awareness Method, do you use protection or avoid sex when you know you are fertile?  Or do you sometimes risk it? Studies show that if you like your method and are dedicated to it, you are more likely to use it more effectively. The following chart shows rates for typical and perfect use of birth control methods discussed during the CT EduSeries webinar.

But behavior is not the only factor to think about. What about safety? Do you experience sides effects with hormonal methods?  If so, you may want to think about methods that do not cause side effects.

What about future plans?  Are you a student who absolutely does not want to get pregnant at this time in your life? Then you may want to think about methods that are the most effective regardless of user error.

There are these and other factors to take into consideration when making a birth control decision.   Listen to the webinar to find out more!

Posted in: Birth Control Effectiveness, Birth Control Options, Contraceptive Options, Womens Health

Watch the Webinar: How Sleep Affects Your Menstrual Cycle

In the latest CT EduSeries webinar, Dr. Mary Lee Barron shared her research and findings on how sleep affects a woman's menstrual cycle.  Dr. Barron's research shows that:

  • melatonin has a direct affect on the ovaries and follicular development
  • light exposure during sleep affects menstrual cycle length
  • consistent, health sleep is critical to optimal fertility

Listen to the recorded webinar here to find out more about these facts and how to get a good night's sleep!

 

Posted in: Fertility, Interviews with Health Providers, Research, Womens Health

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