We are thrilled to be launching iCycleBeads™ Online and our redesigned website! iCycleBeads Online is the only web app in the world based on the Standard Days Method® of family planning. A user receives a private internet account where she can easily track the days of her cycles, know if she is on a day when pregnancy is possible or not, determine that her cycles are in range and continue to be in range for using this natural family planning method effectively, and maintain her cycle history. To use iCycleBeads Online a woman tracks the date her period starts each month; she is not required to track other in-depth fertility symptoms for use.
In a recent TEDTalk, Melinda Gates eloquently outlined why contraception should not be considered a "controversial" topic and the importance of giving people everywhere access to a full range of family planning options. Thank you Ms. Gates, for your willingness to lend your voice to this important issue... And of course, we were thrilled that CycleBeads were included among the full range of family planning options!
Studies show that while the pill is the most commonly used contraceptive method in many countries*, a significant percentage of women discontinue its use, primarily due to side effects and health concerns. Women who discontinue using a contraceptive method put themselves at risk of an unintended pregnancy and need to be counseled or educate themselves on effective, viable birth control alternatives.
When Guli Fager started her job as a sexual health educator for university students in Texas, she was shocked to learn how little they knew. While most students had basic knowledge about contraception, they had minimal understanding of reproductive processes and sexual health issues. Her concern grew when she realized that not only were the students generally uninformed, they were often misinformed. She decided to focus on the question, “What is healthy sexual health development?” and how could she convey this question and the answers to the students through programs at the university health center.
“It’s birth control, but with a lot of other uses.” - health provider
CycleBeads is an effective birth control option and while preventing pregnancy is the primary use of this family planning tool, health providers have shared a number of other interesting ways it can be used to educate, empower, or simply inform. From helping a woman to achieve a pregnancy to condom counseling, here are a few of the interesting ways that providers are using this family planning tool with their clients:
While unplanned pregnancies among teens in the U.S. is at the lowest rate in years, American teenagers are still getting pregnant at a much higher rate than their counterparts in other countries – 3x more often than teens in Germany and France, and 4x more often than teens in the Netherlands. In 2010, unplanned pregnancies among U.S. teens dropped to 34.3 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 according to the most recent health statistics. That’s great news, but it’s still the highest teen pregnancy rate among developed nations.
As mentioned in a previous article on family planning in the Philippines, birth control and sex education in this Catholic country can be difficult to come by. To combat this problem, one city started requiring family planning courses for all couples planning to get married. In Marakina City engaged couples attend courses on responsible parenting and go to a health center to discuss their birth control options. There they are offered a full range of family planning options from hormonal methods to natural methods such as the Standard Days Method™ using CycleBeads®. The couples receive their preferred contraceptive option free of charge from the city through donations from the United Nations Population Fund, the Department of Health, and other donors. After the couples are married, Family Health volunteers visit their homes to answer questions and provide support.
The following are just a couple of their stories…
We’ve heard it all… Is this jewelry? Should I wear CycleBeads® around my neck? Are these rosary beads? And even a few responses that aren’t quite fit for print.
So why did we decide to use beads to help women use the Standard Days Method® of family planning?
The number of twins born in the U.S. has grown signficiantly over the last 30 years according to a new CDC report. The reason? Increasing numbers of women waiting to have children until their 30′s and the growing use of fertility treatments.
With the holidays here you may be wondering how to keep using your natural family planning method if you are traveling – especially if you’ll be in a new timezone. The answer depends on what type of natural family planning method you are using. Some are very easy to use while traveling, and others can be a little more challenging.
"I am a women's health graduate student in Boston and a classmate who works in the family planning field shared the joys of CycleBeads. I began using my CycleBeads not for family planning but to track the symptoms of my disease, endometriosis. Because of a blood clot on my lungs last summer I am no longer able to take hormonal birth control. Now, with CycleBeads I am able to know when my symptoms (specifically pain) are worse. I am grateful to CycleBeads for helping me navigate this new path of my journey with endometriosis."