News/Blog


Natural Family Planning vs. Fertility Awareness - Is There A Difference?

"If you tell someone you use a 'natural family planning' method they often have a different reaction than if you tell them you are using 'fertility awareness'" says Kate Abrams. Kate has been using the Standard Days Method® with CycleBeads® for years and told us that she always thought of the terms as interchangeable, but over time she has found that people often respond differently to the words she uses.

"When I told my doctor a few years ago that I was using a natural family planning method she asked if it was 'because of my faith'. I was surprised since my religion doesn't have anything to do with my decision to use a natural method." she says. "When I told a friend I was using 'fertility awareness' for birth control, she immediately understood that this was about knowledge and just understanding my body.

At first I thought it might just be those two individuals, but after talking to different people over the years I've definitely found there's a difference. 'Natural family planning' is often associated with religion while 'fertility awareness' seems to make people think of empowerment. But way more people understand the term 'natural family planning" than understand 'fertility awareness' so I often end up using both."

We've seen this difference in perception too, and while the terms "natural family planning" and "fertility awareness" generally mean the same thing, it's important to know that to some people they convey different meanings. 

Thanks for sharing your story Kate.

See an earlier article on this topic here: Natural Family Planning, NFP, Fertility Awareness - What Does it All Mean?

Posted in: Fertility Awareness, Natural Birth Control

3 Ways to Use CycleBeads- New Video!

Our latest video highlights that there are three distinct tools for using the Standard Days Method - CycleBeads Online, iCycleBeads smartphone apps, and of course...CycleBeads. Check it out!

A Quick Start Video for CycleBeads Online

Check out our new video which shows you how easy it is to get started using CycleBeads Online.

How to Use CycleBeads Online Video

Interested in learning about ALL the features on CycleBeads Online? Check out this new video!

CycleBeads Featured in Gates Foundation Blog

CycleBeads® and the Standard Days Method® on which it is based are included as a contraceptive option that can help address worldwide family planning needs in a special series on Impatient Optimists, a blog created by The Gates Foundation. The series, called “What’s Your Method?” looks at different family planning technologies and asks experts to write articles explaining these technologies, their benefits, and the challenges with making them available to women globally.

The article, "Keeping An Open Mind: What the Evidence Tells Us About the Standard Days Methodby Victoria Jennings, PhD, and Elaine Murphy, PhD. looks at research which shows that this highly effective fertility awareness-based method attracts new users to family planning and is especially attractive to women and couples who normally wish to avoid hormonal and surgical methods. The Standard Days Method has brought significant numbers of new users to family planning in developing countries and has addressed a number of associated issues in a positive way. 

As stated on the Impatient Optimist blog, “Not every method is right for every woman. A variety of [family planning] options must be available for each woman to find the best fit for her and her family.”

 

We couldn’t agree more!

 

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

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Top 10 Facts About CycleBeads

Recently we ran a series on the CycleBeads blog, called Top 10 Myths About CycleBeads. In case you missed it, here is the list translated into the Top 10 Facts About CycleBeads.  To see the original articles explaining  the myths and responding in detail, see the links below:

Fact #1:  CycleBeads is a Highly Effective method of birth control

Fact #2:  Women are Interested in using a natural method.

Fact #3:   CycleBeads is NOT the Rhythm Method

Fact #4:   Women primarily choose CycleBeads for Health Reasons and to Avoid Side Effects.

Fact #5:   CycleBeads accommodates a Range of Cycle Lengths from 26 to 32 days which means most women can use this method.

Fact #6:   Men are Interested in having their partner use CycleBeads and like being involved.

Fact #7:   Couples using CycleBeads Have Sex Just as Often as couples using other methods.

Fact #8:  CycleBeads takes into account the Variation in the Timing of Ovulation from month to month.

Fact #9:  Women generally have No Problem Remembering to move the CycleBeads marker daily.

Fact #10:  CycleBeads is Highly Effective and has been shown to expand Contraceptive Prevalence and bring New Users to family planning.

 

Posted in: CycleBeads, Birth Control Effectiveness, Birth Control Side Effects, Womens Health

New Video Introducing CycleBeads Online

Posted in: Birth Control Cost, Birth Control Effectiveness, Birth Control Options, Birth Control Side Effects, CycleBeads, Natural Birth Control

CycleBeads Top 10 Myths About This Natural Family Planning Method: Myth #10 - Other Birth Control Methods Might Not Get Used

Who wouldn't want to use a family planning method that does all this?

CycleBeads Myth: It keeps women from using “more effective” family planning methods.
This is a statement we occasionally hear from health providers who are concerned that a natural method like CycleBeads will be so attractive to potential users that they may decide to use it instead of a method that the provider considers “more effective”.

The Truth: First we want to point out that CycleBeads are highly effective and that the only family planning methods more effective than CycleBeads are hormonal options and some “doctor-directed” options such as IUD’s and implants. Also, it is unlikely that a woman who is set on using a hormonal option and has access to it, is going to suddenly change her mind and want to use a natural family planning option. Additionally, there is research that indicates that introducing CycleBeads in a healthcare setting can actually increase contraceptive usage overall and bring new users to family planning.

What about using condoms?

One study showed that when women were counseled on a full range of family planning options and about STD’s, they were far more likely to take condoms with them when they chose to use CycleBeads than when they chose any of the other methods offered. Other studies have shown that simply giving women a full range of options brings more women to family planning and makes the more likely to choose a method.

The most important issue is that women choose a method that is BOTH effective and that works for them in their particular life circumstances. It should be a method that they will use consistently over time. CycleBeads gives women an attractive natural option. It doesn’t stop women from using hormonal methods or other methods if those are a better fit for them.

CycleBeads Top 10 Myths About This Natural Family Planning Method: Myth #9 - Women Are Forgetful

Can Women Remember to Move the Ring Every Day on Their CycleBeads?

CycleBeads Myth: Women will forget to move the ring.

The Truth: Any method that relies on a daily action has the potential for someone to forget to take that action. With the new CycleBeads web and smartphone apps, this is not an issue since a user enters the date of her period and the app automatically lets her know when she is on a fertile day. But in using the CycleBeads physical tool, it is still interesting to note that in clinical trials women were generally able to remember to move the ring with no problem. Most women simply put their CycleBeads in a prominent location where they would see them each day. As a safety check, every set of CycleBeads includes a calendar where a woman can mark the first day of her period and count to double check that the ring is on the right day.

CycleBeads Top 10 Myths About This Natural Family Planning Method: Myth #8 - Ovulation on Day 14

CycleBeads Myth: This method only works if you ovulate on day 14 of your cycle.
This myth often goes hand in hand with the idea that a woman also must have a “perfect” 28 day cycle in order to use this method. Those who think this is true have not looked very closely at how this method works.

The Truth: CycleBeads takes into account the fact that ovulation generally occurs around the midpoint of a woman’s cycle, but that it can move around from one cycle to the next. This is part of the reason that the method identifies 12 days (days 8-19) as days when a woman is potentially fertile. This fertile period takes into account that ovulation occurs around the midpoint of the cycle, but that it can move around by a few days in any given cycle.

Do you have more questions about ovulation? Check out this page with more details about ovulation, what it is, and how it works.

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Testimonials

Arielle D., MA
"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."