5 surprising facts about the female egg cell

1. It’s the biggest cell in your body

Most cells in our bodies cannot be seen without a microscope, but the female egg cell is big enough to be visible to the naked eye. Pretty impressive huh?

2. You’re born with all of your eggs in two baskets

Every woman is born with a set of eggs in her ovaries opposed to men who produce new sperm every 90 days. You can have as many as 7 million eggs in your ovaries when you are born.

3. Eggs decline over time

Although you are born with millions of eggs they will diminish over time so you end up with around 700,000 by the time you hit puberty. Each month you continue to lose eggs, at the point of menopause you will have approximately less than 1000 eggs remaining. Opposed to common misconception neither pregnancy nor hormonal contraception slows the monthly recruitment and loss of eggs down.

4. You release an egg every cycle

For most women the body initiates ovulation every cycle, which is when you have a positive LH test – it indicates your body is getting ready for ovulation. But some women have the potential to release two eggs during one cycle, one per ovary, which is how fraternal twins are made. This is only possible within a 24 hour period.

Women who take hormonal contraception do not release an egg every cycle, as it inhibits ovulation. This is how pregnancy is prevented – if there is no egg to meet the sperm you cannot get pregnant. A regular cycle without ovulation is known as an anovulatory cycle.

5. An egg has a short lifespan after ovulation

Once released, an egg can only be fertilised over the next 12-24 hours. Sperm, on the other hand, can live up to 5 days if the sperm encounters the right environment. Natural Cycles takes these factors into account when calculating your fertile days.

 

 

Your Natural Cycles team

Source:http://natural-fertility-info.com/facts-about-the-female-egg.html

Everything you need to know about ovulation tests

No matter if you are new to Natural Cycles or have been using it for a while – here are the most important things you need to know about ovulation (LH) tests.

WHY should you test for LH?

Ovulation (LH) tests are optional but can help the algorithm to detect ovulation so you can get the very most out of your Natural Cycles experience, and who doesn’t want that right?

LH stands for Luteinizing Hormone, which has its peak roughly 48hrs before ovulation and can be found in your urine. That’s why a positive LH test is a strong indication that ovulation will occur soon, but do keep in mind that it does not mean that ovulation is occurring at this moment nor that it definitely will – the body is simply getting ready to ovulate. That’s why ovulation will only be confirmed in the app after a rise in temperature has accompanied a positive LH test.

HOW do you test for LH?

You can test your urine for LH with the Natural Cycles ovulation (LH) test strips. An increase in LH is usually found within 24-48h before ovulation. LH is always present in the body, put peaks just before ovulation. So a light LH indication can be found on many days in the cycle, that’s why the test is only positive if both lines are equally strong.  You can buy the LH test strips in our Webshop and find a more detailed description of how to do a test in our FAQs.

WHEN is the best time to test for LH?

On around 3-5 days of your cycle, the Natural Cycles app will prompt you to take an LH test. This is to minimise the number of tests you need to take, without missing your LH peak. You should measure between 10am-8pm as the LH-levels tend to rise during the day. You should also try to make sure you that you haven’t visited the bathroom or taken in a lot of fluids for 2 hours prior to testing. You can take ovulation tests as many times a day as you wish to. 

If you want to give ovulation (LH) tests a try, jut hop on over to our Webshop we’ve got plenty as well as other great period, intimate care and sexual well-being products.

Your Natural Cycles team

What protection to use on red days?

With Natural Cycles you know exactly when you are fertile and need to use protection. We recommend using condoms as they have been proven to be very effective and are easy to use. What protection you use on red days is of course up to you just keep in mind that the effectiveness on red days relies on the method you choose to use. We’ve put together a list of methods that can be used on red days, how they are used and how effective they are.

When it comes to contraceptives we recommend taking effectiveness, method of usage as well as possible side effects into consideration. On red days you can only use non-hormonal methods of protection, as hormones affect your body temperature. The only methods mentioned that protect against STDs and STIs are the male and female condom.

Effectiveness can be broken down into:

  • Perfect use: this refers to using the method of contraception correctly and consistently
  • Typical use: reflects how effective methods are for the average person who does not always use the method correctly and consistently.

These numbers show how many women out of 100 get pregnant during a one year period of using the contraceptive method. E.g. 2% perfect use means that in one year a total of 2 women will get pregnant if they use the method consistently and correctly, whereas 18% typical use shows that 18 women out of 100 will become pregnant when using the method in general.

The more correctly and consistently you apply a method of contraception – the more effective the method will be for you. Everyone is different so it’s important to take these factors into account when choosing which option is right for you.

Abstention

When it comes to contraception, abstinence refers to avoiding penile-vaginal penetration. Some couples like to interact in other forms of sexual expression such as masturbation, oral sex, having fun with sex toys and foreplay instead. The penis and sperm should however not come in contact with the vulva or vagina to avoid pregnancy. On paper this is a very effective method to use on red days, in reality you can always be overcome by the ‘heat of the moment’ so we recommend keeping some condoms at hand just in case.

Male Condoms

This is our recommended method for red days, as they are the most effective method and easy to use. Condom failure is usually due to breakage or slippage. You can minimise the risk of this happening by ensuring that you have applied the condom correctly and that it is a good size fitting. We have recently extended our Webshop range with various condoms in different styles and sizes – cause just like us ladies, every man is different and one size doesn’t fit all so be sure to find an option that is comfortable for both of you. 

Perfect use: 2% 

Typical use: 18%

Female Condoms

The female condom is somewhat similar to the male condom. It is a tube of soft plastic (polyurethane) that has a closed end. Each end has a ring or rim. The ring at the closed end is inserted deep into the woman’s vagina over the cervix, like a diaphragm, to hold the tube in place.

Perfect use: 5%

Typical use: 21%

Cervical Cap:

This is a small soft cup made of silicone or latex that fits over the cervix. It needs to be fitted so you should contact your Gynaecologist if you wish to use it and needs to be replaced yearly. It is used in combination with spermicide. You have to leave it in place 6 hours after sex, yet it needs to be taken out within 48hours. It’s effectiveness is also affected depending on whether you have given birth before or not.

Perfect use: 9% (if not given birth), 26% (after birth)

Typical use: 14% (if not given birth), 29% (after birth)

Photo: FemCap

Diaphragm:

The diaphragm is a little similar to the cervical cap. It is a round, dome-shaped device made of rubber that has a firm, flexible rim. It needs to be fitted so you should contact your Gynecologist if you wish to use it and needs to be replaced yearly. It fits inside a woman’s vagina and covers the cervix. It should also be used with a spermicide. The diaphragm must be left in place for 6 hours after intercourse and can be left in place up to 24 hours. It’s effectiveness is also affected depending on whether you have given birth before or not.

Perfect use: 6%

Typical use: 12%

Photo: Caya

Sponge

The contraceptive sponge is a doughnut shaped sponge that you wet before inserting. It is used along with spermicide and must be inserted for at least 6 hours, the combination of spermicide killing sperm and the sponge trapping them and ensuring they do not get to the cervix is important here.

Perfect use: 9% ( ifnot given birth) 12% (after birth)

Typical: 12% (if not given birth) 24% (after birth)

Withdrawal (pull out)

Withdrawal is pulling the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation and away from external genital organs of the woman to avoid pregnancy. With this method the man must rely on his own sensations to determine when he is about to ejaculate. Withdrawal is at the bottom of the effectiveness scale and the gap between typical and perfect use is very large due to couple finding it difficult to use this method consistently and correctly. Men who are less experienced with using this method might have more difficulty identifying when ejaculation is about to occur. In some men’s pre-ejaculate fluid may contain small numbers of sperm, which both partners are often not aware of when released.

Perfect use: 4%

Typical use: 22%

 

 

Talking to your partner about what contraceptive option is right for you can help you with your decision and if you have any further questions feel free to contact us over at support.

Your Natural Cycles team

 

Sources:

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/contraception-guide/Pages/how-effective-contraception.aspx

Hatcher, Robert Anthony. Contraceptive Technology. New York, NY: Ardent Media, 2011. Print.

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/cervical-cap

Celebrating international women’s day

International women’s day is all about celebrating women, our rights, how incredibly far we have come these past few years and how hugely we have contributed to society, the economy, culture and politics. Because who knew that soon we could be calling our app the only certified contraceptive, right ladies?

Having come so far already we sometimes tend to forget what our earlier generations have fought for. So it’s also a time to raise awareness and realise how you are contributing to a better future with Natural Cycles and how we can inspire others to do so.

Contributing to women’s health research

Did you know that when using Natural Cycles you are hugely contributing to research in women’s health? Together with all women using the app we are driving advances in science within the fields of fertility, reproductive health and contraception.

How we talk about contraception, sex and periods

Topics related to women’s sexual health, menstrual cycles and periods are known to be somewhat taboo and we think they shouldn’t be. So we are all about encouraging women to talk about these things openly , whether it’s when you email us at support or on our social media channels – no need to be shy about it.

Inspiring others to get to know their bodies

Getting to know your body and taking control of your choices is liberating. Women often tell us how it has changed their lives and how great they feel – that’s inspiration right there. So whether it’s talking to your friends about Natural Cycles or it’s about your positive experiences in life, be brave to inspire others.

Your Natural Cycles Team

Contraception: a shared responsibility

At Natural Cycles we strongly believe that contraception should be a shared responsibility. So no matter what option you go for, you can talk to your partner about contraception and what suits you two best.

With Natural Cycles contraception actively becomes a shared responsibility, and couples are loving it. The thing is a woman can only get pregnant on up to 6 days in one cycle, and men are fertile all the time. You measure your temperature and on red days your partner uses a condom – everyone has a part to play. We have also heard from many of our users that partners enjoy getting to know about how the cycle works and actively help out in remembering to measure every morning.

This is what Janine one of our Cyclers has got to say about it.

“It feels like it’s more in line with my personal values and letting my body be in the most natural state as possible. Contraception plays more of an equal role in our relationship now, since none of us have to take hormonal contraception.”

How do you feel about sharing the responsibility of contraception? Please share your experiences and thoughts by commenting on this post!

Yours,
Natural Cycles Team

Meet the team: Olivia – Content & Translation Manager

Every month we introduce one of the Natural Cycles team members so you can get to know what happens behind the scenes, this time round Olivia is up.

Where are you from?

Well, I’m half Austrian and half Irish. I was born in Austria and grew up there until I was 10, we then moved to Ireland for 8 years and once I graduated from school I went back to Vienna to study.

Tell us about your work at Natural Cycles?

I’m the Content and Translation Manager here at Natural Cycles. As a native English speaker I am responsible for writing and communicating every written word in English, proof reading as well as managing the translations into other languages. The great thing is that I’m involved with pretty much every area of the company – from product, to marketing, to the webshop and more.

Why Natural Cycles?

I actually became interested in the company when I was looking for an alternative option for myself, only to find that they are extremely limited. Having studied Entrepreneurship and Innovation, as well as having worked for several startups – I thought there must be a startup out there aiming to solve this need so many women have. Natural Cycles was clearly the frontrunner in Europe, so I decided to write my Thesis at Uni on the company. Now, more than one year later, I’m sitting here as an employee at the headquarters in Stockholm – it’s crazy really when I come to think of it.

Favorite project at NC?

Working on the new website – so much to do, so much to learn and I love seeing a finished end result infront of me knowing that I contributed to it.

What does it mean to be a good content and translation manager?

Hm… I’m still learning new things everyday but the things to watch out for I would say would be to first of all love writing and texting. It’s a lot of that, and when it comes down to it you often have to delete half the stuff you’ve written or more, only to start from scratch. When texting for an app you always have to keep in mind that people don’t like to read much and buttons and screens are small – so getting all the important info into short text is super important. I’m humbled to have such a huge responsibility of communicating to the outside world on behalf of Natural Cycles, with such a sensitive topic. I’m always careful to use concise language to ensure it can’t be interpreted in the wrong way, but reading it shouldn’t be a bore either. Last but not least – empathy. I think it helps a lot when you can actually put yourself into the reader’s shoes. My position also requires a lot of work around organisation, communication with others on the team and creativity to ensure we are on track with keeping users updated and coming up with interesting stuff for the to read.

What’s one thing you’ve learned during your time at Natural Cycles?

I only joined three months ago and have already learned so much – from marketing tools to the way I text and keep myself organised. I couldn’t really put it down to one thing.

What’s your go-to place to eat in Stockholm?

I’m a Stockholm newbie actually so I’m no expert to ask – but I have enjoyed going to K25 to grab an informal, hangout meal. It’s like a fancier version of a food court – there’s lots of yummy options, the vibes are cool and it’s awesome for people watching haha.

Favourite feature in the Natural Cycles app?

The monthly overview, it always lets me know when green days, red days or my period is coming up all at one glance. I’m always prepared for what’s to come and I can even take it into consideration when planning holidays etc.

Favourite song?

Right now one of my faves is ‘Like real people do’ by Hozier, an amazing Irish artist, the whole album is great.

Favourite quote?

“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

  • Anna Quindlen.

Tell us about your hobbies?

Blogging used to be a hobby of mine, I still do on rare occasions, but see it more as my work now. I love sport and enjoy going for scenic runs around Stockholm, being outdoors and traveling. My creative side likes to dance, paint and decorate. And I’m gonna go ahead and call brunching a favourite ‘hobby’ of mine.

 

How to get that spring back into your step

Today is the first day of spring and we reckon it’s not just all about tidying and cleaning your entire home. As the days get longer and temperatures start rising (not just your basal body temperature ;)) it’s a great time for making some small changes. With a healthier daily routine you can enjoy a little more spring in your step this season.

Wake up early and get into your routine

As spring comes along the sun starts rising earlier, so why not set the alarm an hour earlier? Getting up earlier leaves you refreshed and feeling productive and rising with the sun is a heck of alot better than on those dark winter days.

With Natural Cycles you should measure your temperature around the same time every morning, just after waking up – so it’s also great for getting out of the bad habit of winter snoozing. We find setting a labelled alarm at the same time to measure is not only great for a pretty temperature curve in the app but for a productive morning routine too.

Get outside and exercise

Did you know that exercise can relieve PMS cramps? The benefits of exercising (no matter what day of your cycle you’re on) just can’t be ignored, it’s great for your body all round and shows benefits for mental well-being. So once the weather starts getting a little better it’s great to get out into nature and enjoy the warmer temperatures and fresh air. From now on it’s time to grab your runners and hit the ground running.

So to get off on the right foot this spring, after the long winter – wake up a little earlier, measure regularly and exercise so you can hit the ground running. 

 

New webshop range: favourite picks

We have recently extended our range in the Natural Cycles webshop, so you can now shop all things period, sex and intimate care. It’s got everything we thought our lovely Cycler community needs and we’ll ship it right to your doorstep. Here are just a few of our favourite picks from the new webshop range:

Pelvic floor trainer

This little accessory stimulates vaginal muscles and trains your pelvic floor to heighten sexual pleasure for both partners. Pretty impressive huh? A common conception is that only women who have given birth tend to use these, well listen up ladies because this little cutie can be used by just about every woman.  Find the pelvic floor trainer here.

Menstrual cup

This little cup is a part of the new intimate-care range and we’re loving it. It’s great for both taking care of your body and is eco-friendly because it can be reused time and time again. It’s also an alternative to tampons if you have problems with dryness and sensitivity because it doesn’t disrupt your vaginal pH balance. You can actually wear the cup when sleeping, working out, swimming and traveling. The great news is that the cup has more capacity to hold fluid than a tampon, so that means – less trips to the toilet and a greater sense of freedom. Find the menstrual cup here. 

Condom range

If you’re just getting started with Natural Cycles or need to stock up on essentials check out our NC must-haves range. We’ve got everything you need so you can get the most out of your Natural Cycles experience. There’s plenty of condoms for you and your partner to choose from for those red days of your cycle from ribbed to ultra thin or extra safe – pick what suits you best and you’re good to go.   

Feel free to browse through our brand new collection: shop.naturalcycles.com

The Natural Cycles Team

 

 

Talking to your partner about contraception

Talking to your partner about contraception is extremely important. To some of you this convo might come easy, but others might find it a little bit difficult and daunting – especially when considering switching to another method of contraception.

Here’s a few tips on what you should consider before having the big chat and how to make the whole conversation a little more chillaxed:

Value your own needs

Contraception can have a big impact on your body, sexual pleasure and hormonal balance – every woman and every cycle is different and what works for some might not work for others. Keep in mind that this is your body and we here at Natural Cycles are strong believers that contraception is and should be seen to be a shared responsibility. Both of your needs and the way you feel matter, so talking about it and finding a solution that is right is of utmost importance.

Knowledge is power

There are some myths and misconceptions when it comes to contraception so we recommend reading up on reliable sources to gather all the info you need. Highlight why you think certain contraceptive options would suit you and your needs most, it’s all about weighing up the options, discussing them and choosing what is right for you.

Familiarize yourself with how it works

When it comes to contraceptives we most commonly ask ourselves how effective is this method and what’s the likelihood of becoming pregnant? Which is very important but whether it’s taking a pill everyday, measuring your temperature or inserting a device to prevent a pregnancy you should also take how it works and possible side effects into account. The effectiveness of a contraceptive also depends on how it is used, so you should feel comfortable with how it is applied. You can get all the info you need on Natural Cycle’s effectiveness and how it works on our new webpage.

We do hope this helps ladies and feel free to get in touch or drop a comment below if you have any questions.

What are your experiences when it comes to talking about contraception with your partner? What was their reaction and how did you two come to a decision? Would love to hear from you.

 

Your Natural Cycles team

 

Natural Cycles: officially certified for contraception

The Natural Cycles office is absolutely jumping with joy at the moment because we can finally share this news with you: Natural Cycles has officially become the only app certified for contraception in Europe.

A big thank you goes out to all of you who have believed, trusted and supported Natural Cycles in the past years, because without you – our Cyclers – we wouldn’t be here today.

We are happy to be able to say that the app is now a certified and CE marked medical device of class IIb, intended to be used for contraception. Below you can read more about the research, algorithm and regulatory processes behind it.

So, what’s new?

“The biggest change is in the way we talk about Natural Cycles. We can now proudly say that Natural Cycles is an effective contraceptive, comparable with others like the pill, the IUD and condoms. It’s another option for women to choose from.”- Elina

Natural Cycles has been and remains to be accurate in detecting ovulation and calculate fertile days.

So the app pretty much remains as it is and you can download the new version we just released for our latest tweaks. We have relaunched the website, with a new design and in-depth information about everything you need to know about Natural Cycles, our research into women’s health and much much more. The app will give you a green day when you are ‘not fertile’ and can enjoy sexual freedom, or indicates to ‘use protection’ on a red day to effectively prevent a pregnancy.

 

Here are a few of the reasons why Natural Cycles is the very first and only app to be certified for contraception;

1. Research in women’s health

Natural Cycles heavily invests and drives research in women’s health by collaborating with top-notch experts within the gynaecology, fertility and the reproductive field. Because we believe, that progress starts with research we have carried out two major clinical studies. You can read up on the study of Natural Cycles’ effectiveness as a contraceptive here.

2. The precision of the algorithm 

The algorithm, which is the brains behind the app that calculates your green and red days, has been shown to be highly accurate. It takes many factors into account such as sperm survival, cycle irregularities and temperature into account to accurately detect and predict ovulation and fertile days.

3. Quality assurance and certifications

Natural Cycles is a certified and CE marked medical device of class IIb, intended to be used for contraception. This puts our app into the same risk category as a condom, which requires us to follow international standards regarding quality assurance and product development processes. We are the only fertility app in Europe to be in this risk class. This means that every step of product development, to how we hire people at Natural Cycles is audited by one of the leading auditing organisations in Europe.

Help us spread the word about Natural Cycles becoming the only certified contraceptive app, ever. Share this blog post or your Natural Cycles story and tag with #CyclerOfTheDay on social media.

Your Natural Cycles Team