Two recent studies conducted by researchers at the Institute for Reproductive Health (IRH) at Georgetown University looked at integrating the Standard Days Method® using CycleBeads® into health programs. Results showed that offering this fertility awareness-based family planning method brought new users to family planning and increased overall contraceptive use in general. It also helps programs fulfill their missions of offering a full range of family planning options by enabling them to offer a non-hormonal, effective option. However, the studies also highlight some of the challenges with introducing a new fertility awareness-based method.
Recent Research Demonstrates Benefits & Challenges of Offering the Standard Days Method of Family Planning in Health Programs
We were thrilled to see a review of the iCycleBeads Online service on the Monster Mummies blog by a woman named Michelle. As Michelle says, she and her husband are planning to get pregnant soon and so she has transitioned off of hormonal contraception to make sure her cycles are regular. They are using iCycleBeads Online to initially prevent pregnancy, but plan to start using it to get pregnant in the near future. Her favorite things about iCycleBeads Online?
- "it is actually really simple to understand when you see it."
- "I could log on anywhere (even at work!) to see where I was with my cycle."
- "emails let me know when there is a change in my cycle, very helpful for busy and forgetful people!"
- "it takes the worry and stress of remembering to record everything and gives you one place to record it all online."
Thanks Michelle! We appreciate your feedback.
Want to share your experience with us? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Myth: I can get pregnant any day of my cycle.
Truth: There are only a limited number of days during a woman's cycle when pregnancy is possible.
Many women grow up hearing that they can get pregnant any day of the month. This is usually information given to them by well meaning, but protective adults who may themselves be misinformed. The fact is that there are only a limited number of days each cycle when a woman can get pregnant - the five days before she ovulates and the 24 hours after she ovulates. These six days are the only fertile days of a woman's cycle and they take into account the lifespan of sperm (5 days) and the lifespan of the ovum (24 hours).
It's all in the timing! When trying to conceive, a couple needs to time intercourse during the woman's fertile days.
In a recent survey, we learned that about one-fourth of women using CycleBeads or iCycleBeads were trying to conceive. If you are someone using CycleBeads (or have used CycleBeads) to get pregnant, please take our quick two-question, anonymous survey!
Check back to see the survey results!
Recently we asked women to tell us if they were using CycleBeads to plan or prevent a pregnancy. The survey results showed that approximately 3/4 of women use CycleBeads to prevent pregnancy while about 1/4 use CycleBeads to plan a pregnancy. We then asked those women who are using CycleBeads as contraception to tell us why they chose this natural family planning option. The answers were overwhelming health reasons such as to "avoid side effects" or because of "concerns about specific health risks". See the graph below for more detailed results.
CycleBeads are included as a part of the Global Health Innovation Insight Series. The Global Health Innovation Project at Stanford University series is intended to develop tools and materials that innovators can use to increase their effectiveness in tackling common business-related issues in low resource settings. The Insight Series looks at companies and products who have navigated these situations and are willing to share their learnings with others.
A number of the issues that we have faced with introducing CycleBeads over the past 10 years, and that are relevant to other innovative health products, are described in these articles. These issues include:
CycleBeads is a fertility awareness tool that can be used either to PLAN or PREVENT pregnancy. We were interested to find out how women were actually using CycleBeads, so we recently surveyed CycleBeads users. We found that most users, approximately three-quarters, were using CycleBeads (or an iCycleBeads app) to prevent pregnancy. In other words, most had chosen CycleBeads as their birth control method. Approximately one-quarter were using CycleBeads to plan a pregnancy, and a very small percentage were using CycleBeads simply to track their cycles. Interestingly, these results remain consistent with results from surveys in previous years.
As CycleBeads' 10 year anniversary is fast approaching next month, we wanted to take a second and reflect on what we've accomplished...
One major accomplishment, more than 2.5 million women have used CycleBeads since our launch in late 2002! Why is this important? Read this recent article on the challenges of making natural birth control options widely available and how CycleBeads has been able to overcome many of these obstacles.
New CycleBeads Toolkit - A Resource for Health Providers Integrating This Natural Family Planning Option
Attention! Health Care Providers and Health Educators:
A toolkit for integrating the Standard Days Method® and CycleBeads® into U.S. health clinics and programs has been created by our research partner, the Institute for Reproductive Health. It is a free online resource that includes an Integration Guide, a training course, training materials, instructional videos and more.
While CycleBeads and iCycleBeads™ are an easy and effective way to use natural family planning, and can be purchased without a prescription, it is important and helpful for health care professionals to have a plan and guidance when introducing it to a clinic or program. The toolkit gives tips on how to create a positive atmosphere for offering the method, how to train staff to screen and counsel clients, how to procure materials, and suggests other creative ways to use CycleBeads in a practice and in outreach.
The toolkit is available at: www.cyclebeadstoolkit.com
Feel free to download materials to use in your practice and for training your staff. Contact us with any questions at email@example.com.