CycleBeads help women use the Standard Days Method, a fertility awareness-based family planning method. The Standard Days Method is based on the fact that there is a fertile window during a woman’s menstrual cycle which begins several days before
ovulation and ends a few hours after ovulation. During this time a woman can become pregnant. To prevent pregnancy using the Standard Days Method and CycleBeads, users avoid unprotected sex by using a condom or abstaining during days 8-19 of the cycle.
How to Use
CycleBeads, a color-coded string of beads that represents the days of a woman’s cycle, helps an individual use the Standard Days Method, by helping her track her cycle days. Starting the first day of her period, she moves a band to the red bead then to a new bead every day. The color of the bead lets her know if today is a day she is highly likely to be fertile or not. Couples use condoms or barrier methods to prevent pregnancy on fertile days.
An efficacy trial found that CycleBeads was more than 95% effective at preventing pregnancy with correct use and approximately 88% effective with typical use among women who reported recent cycles of 26–32 days. This is similar or better than the efficacy of most other user dependent methods. Women can use CycleBeads to plan pregnancy as well. Couples target those days where the bead colour indicates fertility is highest for intercourse to conceive a child.
This method is not as effective for women who have cycles outside of the 26- to 32-day range. Women who are breastfeeding or have recently used contraceptive injections must wait before using CycleBeads. Many natural family planning methods require male involvement, which is seen as a negative. Efficacy, like all birth control, is highly dependent on continuing correct use.
Q & A
Q: How can I delay my period from starting?
A: The most successful way to do this is if you are on the birth control pill and you do it a few months in advance. We first figure out when the expected period is, based on where you are now in the pill pack, and if the timing is bad, we count back from the big day and skip the placebo (last week or pill free week) one or more months prior, to get the desired effect. You should manipulate your pill as far away from the big event (do the skipping of the placebo weeks now instead of the month before the event) as some women will get irregular or break through bleeding when they alter their pills. During this time, the chances that you get pregnant are low, even if you do get break through bleeding.
If you are not currently on the pill and you want to alter the timing of the cycle, again this should be done as far in advance as possible, to avoid irregular bleeding around the time of your event. The best way is to initiate a birth control pill, with the new start appropriately timed counting back from the week before the event (the week most people want to get it, so they can get it over with before the event). If you don’t want to or can’t use a birth control pill, then the other option is to use provera or prometrium (progesterone tablets) to bring on your period earlier. Again, this should be done as far from the event as you can.
Q: Can you get pregnant during your period?
A: There is a higher chance of this happening if you have irregular menstrual cycles or short cycles (day one is the first day of bleeding and the cycle end is defined as the day before you get the next day one of bleeding in the next cycle). There are 14 days* from ovulation (when the egg pops out of the ovary and lives for about 24 hours) to menstruation - this is the luteal phase, and this is usually very constant. The beginning of the cycle, the follicular phase, however (from menses to ovulation) can vary widely, and in a 21-day menstrual cycle, ovulation can occur on day 7. Sperm can live 48 to 72 hours, which means in this cycle, if the woman had sex on day 4 of her period, the sperm could still be around on day 7 and she could get pregnant.