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

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

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. 

 

Winter is here: will it affect my basal body temperature?

Generally speaking your body should not be affected, given that you have normal bedding (what you usually use) and room temperatures at home. Your body is great at maintaining a regular temperature and will adjust to the cold weather!

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With Natural Cycles it is important to measure your basal body temperature in your mouth and underneath your tongue. By closing your mouth and breathing through your nose you can avoid external factors like room temperature influencing it. This is why measuring your temperature on your skin or in your ear is not accurate enough to use with the app.

We also want to point out that electric blankets and heating pads can have an effect, so keep an eye on your temperature curve when using these. Winter is also the time of year where a lot of us get sick, so if you feel unwell and your temperatures are much higher than usual be sure to disable the measurement until you feel better again.

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If you haven’t entered any temperature, you cannot click on inactive.

 

Read more about measuring the basal body temperature related articles here:

When and how to measure basal body temperature.

Why should I use a basal thermometer?

What if I forget to measure?

 

Happy Cycling!

How common is early miscarriage and what causes it?

In the lead up to our #HappyPregnancy campaign we want to highlight the other side of the story a pregnancy ending in a miscarriage.

Miscarriage is the sudden loss of a pregnancy before the 20th week. Although it is natural, very common and happens to up to 10-20 percent of all known pregnancies, it is a topic that is not so discussed and known as taboo.

Early pregnancy loss are most common

Most of the miscarriages happen before week 12, after that the risk decreases week per week.  In about half of the cases of early pregnancy miscarriages the reason is that the fertilised egg does not divide properly or is not properly attached in the womb. 

What causes early pregnancy loss?

A miscarriage can be very tough emotionally, and it is not unusual that the woman blames herself for losing the baby. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there are no certain activities that cause early pregnancy loss. Smoking, alcohol and caffeine have been studied but the research is not clear. The advice is to stay away from alcohol, caffeine and smoking when trying to get pregnant.

How can Natural Cycles help you?

You can ovulate after your miscarriage, as early as in your first cycle.  So if you want to try to get pregnant again, there is no medical reason to wait. With Natural Cycles, you can pinpoint your fertile days and see if and when you ovulated after a miscarriage, and plan your pregnancy.  Once you’re pregnant, you can track the first trimester of your pregnancy in the Natural Cycles app. This is done by tracking your temperature, because it should stay high throughout the first trimester due to progesterone that is continuously being produced.  The Natural Cycles algorithm can detect potential fluctuating hormone levels and will notify you if you should visit a doctor. 

On the picture above you can see how the woman’s temperature kept staying high after the entered positive pregnancy test, and the fluctuating values.  

Emma’s Story 

We do encourage women to talk openly about their fertility stories. As mentioned, miscarriage is something natural caused by our bodies and shouldn’t be taboo to talk about. Emma is a Cycler since last year and after reading about Natural Cycles she decided to start using it.

 

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“I heard about Natural Cycles and since we planned to get pregnant in near future I figured it was a great way to get to know my body. I ordered the startkit and started measuring my temperature every morning. It took me couple of months to get into it, but once I did I realized how fantastic the body is! When I understood my rhythms from month to month, me and my partner started talking about getting pregnant. With help of LH-tests I could find my ovulation with great precision, and I got more aware of my body’s signals! I got pregnant in may this year (2016) on the first try!
Unfortunately it ended in a miscarriage. But knowing how easy it’s been to find my ovulation with help of Natural Cycles, we didn’t stop trying. Now 4 months later, I’m pregnant again and that makes me a Preggo Cycler!


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It’s still very early in my pregnancy and anything can happen, but we got pregnant so close into the miscarriage thanks to Natural Cycles. I will continue using natural Cycles for monitoring my pregnancy, and use it afterwards for tracking my fertility!”

 

Thanks to Emma for sharing this fantastic story! If you want to share your Natural Cycles story with us, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, and if you want to plan your pregnancy read more on our #HappyPregnancy website and sign up to get 40% off.

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How will summer holidays affect my measuring?

We have summarized a couple of questions that often come to mind when the summer is around the corner. Have a read!


Can warmer weather affect my basal body temperature?


– The answer is no not significantly! Your body is very good at maintaining itself at its optimal temperature since humans are warm blooded animals. Also, we do recommend you to measure under your tongue, and not on your skin or in the ear, which means that your reading is not affected by the outside factors such as room temperature or your clothes etc.

 

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Can I still measure my BBT if I’m traveling abroad in another time zone?

If you travel across several time zones and experience jet lag then we recommend to skip measuring after the first night of sleep in the new destination. After you have adjusted to the new time schedule, you should measure as usual when you wake up in the morning in the new time zone. Remember to always skip measuring if you feel hungover or if you have slept less than usual! We know those summer nights can sometimes be endless 🙂

It’s also good to know that travelling can be stressful on the body, which means that it can sometimes affect your cycle causing for instance, a delayed ovulation, and therefore a bit more irregular cycles.  


Do you have any questions or thoughts around summertime and measuring? Please comment below!

Birth Control is About Life Control

Natural Cycles found that birth control choices are based on a poor understanding of how the body and contraception works. The campaign #LifeChangingOptions hopes to improve awareness around contraception so that couples find a method that suits both of their needs entirely and bolsters their ability to prevent pregnancies.

As part of the campaign, Natural Cycles asked 3000 men and women across the UK, US and Sweden, basic knowledge questions about reproduction and contraception that the company considers necessary to prevent pregnancies effectively. Study participants were asked about their contraception use, their feelings towards them as well as the science behind pregnancy. 

The survey results show the general public’s understanding is lacking, with only half of all questions answered correctly. The UK’s awareness was lowest, at 45 percent, followed by the United States, 50 percent, and finally Sweden, the home country of Natural Cycles came out top with 54 percent.

When asked, nearly 30 percent of women on the pill do not know how the method works and 52 percent failed to answer pregnancy-risk related questions correctly. Furthermore, almost 80 percent of these women say they would prefer to use a natural method of contraception but results suggest that they are held back by their general lack of awareness.

It is part of women and men’s reproductive rights to understand the options that are available to them to prevent unwanted pregnancies. A privilege that we take for granted, which is upsetting if you consider that millions of girls in the developing world have no access to contraception whatsoever.

For every use of the hashtag #LifeChangingOptions, Natural Cycles will donate a condom to developing countries to try and institutionalise the concept of “choice” by expanding options so that underprivileged girls can take control of their own future.

And of course, if you would like to become one of our Cyclers, sign up here!

 

Test your knowledge by watching this video:

How did you do?

1. How does a women get pregnant?

A: To put it simply, an egg is released from the ovaries and a sperm fertilises an egg

 

2.  How long can sperm survive in the female body?

A: Up to 5 days 

 

3. Can a woman get pregnant any time in her cycle?

A: No, a woman can only get pregnant during ~6 days of her cycle.

Here’s the equation: 5 day sperm survival + 1 day egg survival = 6 day fertile window

 

4.  So when do you think are you most fertile?

A: For an optimal chance of conception, sperm should already be present in the fallopian tube before the egg is released, which means the most fertile day of the woman’s cycle is rather the day prior to ovulation than the day of ovulation itself.

 

5. How does the pill work?

A: The pill has a few of lines of attack: a) Stops ovulation so there is no egg to fertilise, b) changes the lining of the uterus  so an embryo cannot implant in the womb c) thickens the cervical mucus so it is harder for sperm to penetrate the womb and reach the egg.

 

6. Do you know how your temperature changes during your cycle and how this information can be used to track your fertility?

A: Women’s resting body temperatures rises once they have ovulated (0.2-0.45 C).  Ovulation marks the end of fertile window, which indicates a woman has entered her infertile phase. Temperature can therefore be used to find which phase a woman is in her cycle, informing her when she is fertile and is not fertile.

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For more information about tracking your cycle please visit our support portal, Ask Tibi.

Yours naturally,

The Natural Cycles Team

xxx

Does travelling affect basal temperature accuracy?

Midsummers marks the beginning of the holiday season, which means lots of us will be travelling to our favourite holiday destinations to get some much needed Vitamin D – especially those of us living north of the equator where the summer still hasn’t arrived!

The thought of hotter climates has led many of our Cyclers to become a little hot-headed about their favourite travel essential, NaturalCycles, who have asked the question ” does travelling affect basal temperature accuracy? “. So we thought it would be helpful to answer a couple of your questions so you can relax wholeheartedly and enjoy the sun!

A common question is whether resting temperature is affected by a hotter climate?  The answer is, not significantly, as your body is very good at maintaining itself at it’s optimal and by measuring your temperature under your tongue – not on the skin or in the ear – it means that your reading is not greatly affected by the surrounding room temperature.


In fact, the main reason for temperature fluctuations when travelling abroad often comes down to quality of sleep. The warmer weather and different time zone can often mean a disturbed night. It’s either too humid or too cold – depending on whether you’ve opted for AirCon – and trying to become attuned to a new ‘bed time’ can take a couple of days. So as a guideline, we say that it’s always best to skip a measurement or two during this changeover period. Moreover, the suggested guideline for jet lag recovery rate is one day per time zone, so as a rule of thumb, you might want to try skipping one measure day per time zone to get optimal results. 

The next query that comes hand-in-hand with holidays is measuring the morning after drinking. We recommend Cyclers to skip measuring if you feel hungover or if you have slept less than usual but if you have had one cocktail whilst watching the sunset you will be OK to measure!

If you have any more questions please leave a comment or get in touch via support@naturalcycles.com

Your NaturalCycles Team

How can your doctor use NaturalCycles to help you?

Is your doctor or nurse unsure how to use NaturalCycles? Well, we’re here to help you, help them make the most out of our service. Why?  Because information about your unique cycles could help medical professionals answer important questions associated with your reproductive and sexual health.

 

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Dr. Who

Accurately tracking menstruation and ovulation, provides powerful information. For instance:

– Period and ovulation tracking, could help diagnose and/or manage conditions like PCOS, a endocrine system disorder that can affect both of these cyclical events.

– Tracking menstrual cycle characteristics can help understand a woman’s fertile potential and odds of conceiving on a cycle-to-cycle basis.

– Specific information about a woman’s cycle, such as PMS symptoms that women can enter in ‘Notes’, can also help a physician make a diagnosis or evaluate treatment for endometriosis, a condition that affects the tissue lining the uterus.

 

Fertility tracking with NaturalCycles can also help determine:

– If a woman is pregnant,

– When exactly she got pregnant and therefore improve predictions for due dates

– Offer insights into the health of the fetus in the first trimester.

FACT:  Did you know that NaturalCycles notifies a user to seek medical advise if the algorithm captures low temperatures at the early stages of pregnancy? This is because low temperatures indicate insufficient progesterone levels to support the early development of a fetus.

 

The information medical professionals can obtain from a user’s calendar and statistics are as follows:

– Number of anovulatory cycles

– Average ovulation day and variation

– Cycle regularity

– Cycle length and variation

– Phase length (Follicular and Luteal)

– Temperature in each phase

– Cover line temperature

– Temperature fluctuations

– Time and length of menstruation

 

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If you have any further questions or want to share your experience we’d love to hear from you so please comment or get in touch via support@naturalcycles.com

Yours naturally,
The NaturalCycles Team

xx

 

To measure or not to measure, that is the question?

A question that often pops up from Cyclers relates to how they can optimise their morning temperature measuring routine. To help, we thought we would create a quick guide of all the the do’s and don’ts.

Do:

Always measure first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed in the morning.

Always measure underneath your tongue so that the metal point sits at the root of it.

For the first 3 cycles, try to measure as often as possible.

For the 5 days before and after expected ovulation, try to measure almost every day.

Disable temperatures if they seem abnormally high due to being sick or a change in routine: Long sleep-ins, drinking heavily, late night, slept badly.

Do not:

Do not measure on sick or hangover days as this will give you more red days than necessary.

Do not measure once you’re up and out of bed as this reading will not be your resting temperature (BBT).

 

 

Here are also some tips from some of the Natural Cycles team, that might help you make your own routine:

 

“If I slept really badly the night before and wake up feeling tired, my temperature is higher than usual so I usually give it a miss for the day.” Dani, Cycler for 4 months 

 

“I often don’t measure on weekends because I love my lie-ins.” Elina, Cycler for 3 years (TIP: don’t measure if you wake up >3 hours earlier/later than usual)

 

“I tend not to measure on days when I don’t follow my normal ‘weekday’ routine, which means late nights and drinking.’ 

Eliza, Cycler for 5 months (TIP: don’t measure if you get more than 2 hours more/less sleep than usual )

 

“Whenever I travel to a different time zone, I tend to skip the first morning as it means I slept more/less than usual.” Nicole, Cycler for 1 year

 

So ladies, I think that is about it. If you follow these guidelines then you should get a nice temperature curve, like the one below:

Our cycles should roughly take a sinne curve shape

Our cycles curve usually have a ‘Sine’ shape

 

Just remember that there will of course be some fluctuations that cannot be avoided, but this is normal so no need to worry!

One final thought, please try not to bias your graph by picking and choosing on a regular basis, if you do have data points that you are unsure about then just get in touch as we are here to help! Email support@naturalcycles.com

 

Happy measuring!