NaturalCycles featured by Arctic Startup.
The newly designed NaturalCycles app for iPhone and iPad is now approved and in the App Store. Update your apps or download it for free here!
You get a three month free Plan/Prevent trial.
Today is the most amazing Friday ever! It’s a beautiful spring day in Stockholm and we could have lunch outside in the sun for the first time here at SUP46. They have a nice really big courtyard just outside the office.
What of course makes the day even better is that the new, beautified NaturalCycles website is out and the new iOS app has been submitted for approval. The new website is not only much prettier, but it also allows you to try NaturalCycles Prevent of Plan for free for 3 months, or you can pay for a year and get a basal thermometer shipped home to you. Cool! Another amazing feature of the new website is that it’s available in 6 languages!
Today is the international women’s day!
NaturalCycles is therefore attending a big event here in Stockholm where I will be pitching – Women in tech 2014. It will be very exciting as great female entrepreneurs are there giving inspiring talks and I get to present our company in front of an audience of hundreds of women!
You can follow the event on twitter: #WIT2014
This Tuesday, NaturalCycles had a business meeting just outside Stockholm, in Kista, with an exciting potential business partner.
We discussed with them how we could work together in different ways. It went really well and they seemed enthusiastic about our ideas and also our product.
We will meet them again for a longer meeting, about half a day, when we will go through our methodology and scientific studies to show them exactly how the algorithm behind NaturalCycles works. They will bring their own experts who will challenge us. This will be a very crucial step, but it will also be fun and exciting. We are now working on converting our long and detailed scientific paper into a shorter one, excluding the details of the algorithm that we don’t want to disclose.
We get a lot of questions about how many green days to expect in the beginning when using NaturalCycles, since NaturalCycles needs some data to get to know you and your body. Every woman is different, with different cycle characteristics and different body temperatures, so we cannot make any reliable assumptions about your body until you start entering your own data in your NaturalCycles account.
The number of green days a woman gets in the first ovulatory cycle depends a lot on those first data points. What cycle day did she start measuring at? Does she measure every day or does she skip a lot of days? How much is her temperature fluctuating? Which cycle day does she ovulate? Has she recently been on hormonal contraception and will this postpone ovulation? I’ve already written a separate blog entry concerning how much the pill affects your cycle, here:
NaturalCycles requires 6 low temperature values before looking for a rise due to ovulation. This means that if she ovulates around day 15, she needs to start measuring around day 10 at the latest. If she starts measuring after the temperature rise, then it is of course not possible for NaturalCycles to detect ovulation. Below is such an example, where she started measuring on day 21:
One could argue that most probably ovulation had happened there and NaturalCycles could give green days, but before the following menstruation, there is really no way of knowing whether ovulation has happened and if the temperature is high, or if ovulation is for some reason delayed and the rise is still to come. As safety comes first, these days should not be green!
Below you see another example of a user that started measuring her temperature on cycle day 11, ovulated on day 20 and then got green days on day 23. She also entered a first positive LH test (ovulation test) on day 20, which helps to get easier green days.
In some extreme scenarios, where the woman does not measure very often in combination with highly fluctuating temperatures, it can take up to two cycles to get the first post-ovulatory green days.
To summarize: on average, if a user starts measuring before ovulation, she gets 40.2% green days during her first cycle. So even though the number of green days in the first cycle varies greatly, depending on several factors, the users do on average get a significant amount of green days.
I get a lot of concerned questions from women who are coming off the pill, or other hormonal contraception, and starting to use NaturalCycles as a birth control. How much will the hormones affect my cycle? Will NaturalCycles be safe and take the pill into account? How many green days (no need for condom) will I get? For those who are not familiar with NaturalCycles, it is a natural contraception, which analyses your body temperature, and optionally ovulation test data, to determine when you are fertile (red days) and when you most definitely are not fertile (green days).
How much will the hormones affect my cycle?
The cycles of many women, although they had been many years on hormones, just directly go back to normal. Some women are only mildly affected, like for instance myself. I had the Implanon (the hormonal implant in the arm) for 10 years and after taking it out, my first 2 cycles were 5 weeks long, then a few cycles were 4 weeks and then back to 3.5 weeks, which is normal for me. Some women are unfortunately highly affected. The worst case I saw was a woman who quit the pill last summer and started measuring for NaturalCycles. Her first cycle was 108 days and since the time between ovulation and the next menstruation usually stays the same for one woman, she ovulated on day 97. Her next cycle was a bit shorter; about two months, and the one after that about 6 weeks. Basically it took almost a year until her cycle was back to normal.
The research that has been carried out on the subject has different conclusions, much depending on who was financing and/or performing the studies (one should not forget that the pharmaceutical industry has a very strong lobbying business). One interesting fact that I read is that the hormonal treatment that affects the cycle the most is the combined oral pill, which contains both progesterone and estrogen. For women using the combined pill, 50% got severely affected for the following year after stopping the pill. This was clear from a study performed on women quitting the pill in order to get pregnant and the majority of women who had been taken the combined pill had more difficulties to get pregnant. The good news is that after a year of being free of hormones more than 90% of the women had gone back to having regular cycles.
One conclusion to draw from this is that it is important to quit the pill quite some time before one plans to get pregnant. Not only due to the decreased chances of falling pregnant, but also to give the body a break for a while. It’s clear that being on a constant dose of hormones, is very disruptive and unhealthy for the body. If this is followed directly by pregnancy, which is an even stronger dose with lots of hormones, it might be even more difficult to find a balance again after the pregnancy and breastfeeding is over.
Will NaturalCycles be safe and take the pill into account?
Yes, definitely. When you set up your personal account with NaturalCycles, we ask you if you’ve recently been on the pill, for how long and when you stopped. NaturalCycles will then be extra cautious with your cycle and it knows that it’s very likely that you’ll start off with longer cycles, due to delayed ovulation, which will get shorter and shorter with time. So there is no need to worry, just be patient and confident that your cycle will eventually go back to normal.
How many green days (no need for condom) will I get?
How many green days you will get of course greatly depends on how much your cycle is disruptive by the use of hormones. If your cycle directly goes back to being somewhat regular, then no problem, you will get a nice amount of green days. If your cycle is very disrupted and you almost never ovulate, then the green days will be few. In that case, on the other hand, it is still very useful to monitor your cycle and confirm that it is slowly improving with time. The woman I mentioned above, who had a very disturbed cycle after quitting the pill, only had 25% green days her first year using NaturalCycles. 25% is still better than nothing and it’s nice for a couple to not have to use condoms 100% of the time, which is the other option when quitting the pill.
Overall, it is a big decision to quit the pill and to change birth control, and there is no guarantee that your cycle and body will just continue as nothing happened if you have been taking hormones for years. It’s nevertheless important to give your body a chance and to try to take the healthier path for the future.
Yesterday we went to a romantic restaurant on the Zurich lake, called Chez Fritz, to celebrate the Nobel Prize. It was one of the better restaurants I’ve been to in Zurich, as I quite often find them overpriced with the food being a bit boring. Chez Fritz was different than that and as a precourse we shared the best ravioli I ever tasted in my life. Was nice to indulge for an evening.
Today we launched the Swedish version of the NaturalCycles page.
Although people say that all Swedes speak English, it is still nice to do things in your own language. Spanish is hopefully coming out next week!