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

3 features in the Natural Cycles app that will help you track your health.

Making better decisions around health and well-being is a worthy goal, and Natural Cycles is here to help. Whether you have used Natural Cycles for a while, or you want to get started now, there are always helpful tips to learn about fertility and your body.

Besides knowing your most fertile days, with the Natural Cycles app you will learn what is normal for your body. What’s more, if something seems off, you will know if it requires professional help. Below are 3 features in the Natural Cycles app that might help you tracking your health.

 

1. Length of your period.  

On average, periods last 3-5 days, but everything from 2-7 is normal. 

When tracking your fertility you will know how long your period is on average and see if it gets shorter or longer than usual. Irregularities may for example indicate a hormone or thyroid issue, or other health conditions which you might need to take precautions for. 

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2. You will know exactly how regular or irregular your cycles are.

Knowing your menstrual cycle can help you not only know how you feel and what to expect through the different phases, but also help you diagnose and or manage conditions like PCOS or endometriosis. 

 

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And if you ever want to plan a pregnancy – you can easily switch to the Plan a Pregnancy mode.

 

 

 

3. Natural Cycles notifies you when it’s time to do a breast self-examination.

The best time to do the breast self-examination is after your period, and before ovulation when the progesterone levels are the lowest. Since you know where in your cycle you are, Natural Cycles will remind you by sending you a message to do the exam.

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Make 2017 your healthiest year yet, by making small changes. A small habit of measuring your temperature and entering it in the Natural Cycles app can make a big change. Start today!

 

Meet the team: Rebecca, Customer Support Manager

We’re continuing with our meet the team posts – so you get to know who’s behind the scenes. Natural Cycles is a young startup that has a diverse, international and young team working on giving women an alternative  and ensuring to deliver the best possible product we can. This week our customer support agent is up – Rebecca!

Natural Cycles Meet the Team

First snow in Stockholm!

Tell us about your work at Natural Cycles?
I work with customer support, so I answer all of our Cycler’s questions be it by email or on social media and the occasional phone call.  It’s also a part of my job to be involved in finding things that could do with improvement within the app, reporting bugs etc. I work very close with Cyclers and have a good understanding of what they want and need.

Why Natural Cycles?
I started using it myself as I had already quit the pill about six months earlier. About a year later, I was looking for a new job and found an open position and just knew I HAD to work for Natural Cycles. I was already happy with the app, and the work the company was doing, so I really wanted to be a part of this. I was actually really nervous and excited to meet Elina for the first time too!

What does it mean to be a good support agent?
I am very compassionate and well-informed about all aspects of the menstrual cycle. I always try to put myself in the position of being the Cycler, asking for guidance and help with my menstrual cycle and sex life. It means having to be very personal with everyone, while still providing all the relevant information. I really feel and sympathise with all them and try to give the best advice possible.

What’s one thing you’ve learned during your time at Natural Cycles?
Almost everything about the menstrual cycle!

What’s your go-to place to eat in Stockholm?
A burger place South of Stockholm, Bun-Meat-Bun. I’ve always treated myself to their burgers after every big thing in my life – surgery, new apartment and this job too actually!

Favourite feature in Natural Cycles app?
The graph is my favourite. It tells me everything I need to know about my own body. It shows the entire menstrual cycle, with every up and down in temperature and cycle variation, and all data is accessible by tapping the data point. Alternatively you can see it all on the statistics page. I’m just really interested in learning more about my body and cycle.

Favourite quote?
Always treat others as you wish for them to treat you. This speaks to me on so many levels – it was my school’s motto which has stuck with me since I was 6 years old.

Read here about our Head of Design Daniel and look out for more Meet the Team posts!

Cheers,
Dani at Natural Cycles

Meet a Cycler – Sandra

Hi!

My name is Sandra and I’m 23 years old. I live in the idyllic archipelago of Nynäshamn (Sweden) with my fiancé. I’m a preschool-teacher student at Stockholm University and in June 2016 I will graduate!

Sandra

I found out about Natural Cycles through a popular blog. Around the same time I heard about Natural Cycles I also started a lifestyle change. I started eating organic food and I felt that Natural Cycles could be a good option for me. Using the app is so simple – all you need to do is take your temperature in the morning. Such an easy habit to form!

 

Natural Cycles is the right choice for me since my fiancé and I have been together for almost eight years and we’re getting married soon. In couple of years we might want to have a family and, thanks to Natural Cycles I will know my most fertile days. As you might know, you can choose between two plans with Natural Cycles: “Track your fertility”, and “Plan a Pregnancy” which you can quickly change with the press of a button.


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Also I love their support. They respond very quickly to questions and concerns. I feel very well treated and that’s important for me as a user. I’ve used Natural Cycles since August 2015 and still love using it. It’s very easy to use and I love getting the notifications in the morning. It feels lovely to track my cycle and get better knowledge about my fertility. I would recommend Natural Cycles to all women!

 

It’s amazing to read your stories! If you want to share your story please fill in this form and we will get back to you.

Read other Cyclers stories here:

Meet a Cycler – Pauline
Meet a Cycler –  Tanya
Meet a Cycler – My Annika



The colors in plan a pregnancy mode

Dear Cyclers,

In the new version of the Natural Cycles app the pregnancy mode has a new fresh look. The ‘fertile window’ is presented in red scale where the most fertile day is red, and the least fertile day is pink. Read more about the fertile window and the science behind our menstrual cycle here. The non-fertile days are presented in grey.

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“We want the important days to stand out very clear, even if this means that the non-fertile days come across as dull. We do this by using the contrast between a muted gray and a very vibrant red.” Quote from our head of design, Daniel.

If your ovulation has been confirmed in the app, you will also be able to see when you can test for pregnancy the earliest. This function also existed in the old app, but is now even more visually clear. If your period comes, the symbol will disappear. Read more about symbols here.

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Do you have any feedback? Comment below, please! 🙂

 

 

What your cycle says about your fertility

Once upon a time women weren’t able to discuss their health needs – orgasms was a forbidden topic of conversation, advertising for contraception was illegal and sanitary pads were impossible to hunt down in your local store. However, luckily times have changed. Women have become more vocal about their needs, with taboo-breaking social media campaigns such as #livetweetyourperiod and also become savvier due to a rise in more female-targeted products, which give women valuable health info about themselves.

We think sexual and reproductive health shouldn’t be an afterthought to general health care, it should be taken more seriously! In light of Fertility Awareness Week this week, we wanted to shed some light on how Natural Cycles, which is programmed to spot underlying fertility issues, can help you keep a closer eye on your health so nothing gets in the way of your reproductive goals.

As you may already know, changes in temperature throughout your cycle is directly linked to what is going on in your body.  A rise in temperature indicates ovulation has occurred and a cooling of the body happens as your new cycle begins and you get your period. However, these events don’t always happen, which could be linked to your reproductive health. For instance, anovulatory cycles (no ovulation), frequent periods (short luteal phase) or excessive pain leading up to your period can all be indicators of a health issue that might need a closer look from your doctor. Here’s what to look out for!

 

Anovulatory cycles

Anovulatory cycles is when a women skips ovulation. Without ovulation it is impossible to get pregnant, which is why it is linked to infertility. Anovulatory cycles are common amongst women especially if you have only recently started your period, come off the pill,  on the lead up to menopause or if you are breastfeeding.
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Periods still appear as normal during anovulatory cycles as your endometrial lining still sheds (estrogen breakthrough bleeding), so if a woman is not tracking her cycle, it is likely that she may not even know she has had one.

The most common cause of anovulatory cycles is Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which affects 8 to 12 percent of all women. PCOS is strongly linked to lifestyle as are the occasional anovulatory cycles, which can be caused by obesity, stress, illness, thyroid dysfunction and even travelling.

Tell tale signs of PCOS are heavy periods, acne, facial hair and excess belly fat. And if you’re tracking your cycle your cycles will appear irregular, longer than average at around 35 days and you will have a lack of temperature shifts (rise of 0.2 – 0.45C), which indicates that no ovulation occurred. The algorithm will notify you if it captures an anovulatory cycle and furthermore, if your cycles are more than 40% anovulatory it will recommend that you visit a doctor to get assessed.  

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It is important to diagnose PCOS as there are simple changes that you can make to your lifestyle that can control it. Eco Watch has a great article to help women overcome PCOS through changes to their diet.

 

Frequent periods

Frequent periods may be caused by an abnormality in your endometrial development – the lining of your uterus – which is known as a Luteal phase defect.

The luteal phase is the stage of your menstrual cycle that occurs after ovulation and before your period starts. During this phase, progesterone causes the endometrium to thicken in order to support the implantation of a fertilised egg, however, with luteal phase defect, the lining of the uterus does not grow properly, which can make it difficult to get or stay pregnant. This can be because either your ovaries do not release enough progesterone or the lining of the uterus does not properly respond to the progesterone.

Luteal phase defect is often characterised by a short luteal phase, which can difficult to diagnose as there is no single test that can but monitoring the number of days between ovulation and your period is a good start. Natural Cycles is a useful tool, as it will notify you if it suspects such irregularities if for instance your luteal phase is often found to be shorter than 9 days long.

 

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Painful periods

Symptoms such as severe menstrual cramps and pain during intercourse can be indicative of a condition called, Endometriosis. It is a condition that affects around 10% of women and is where uterine cells that normally shed during menstruation implant in other places in the body. The cells that continue to act like uterine cells, create scar tissue at the time of menstruation which is what causes pain and often infertility.

If you experience painful menstrual cramps, it is worth monitoring your cycle to look out for other symptoms, such as premenstrual spotting, periods lasting longer than 8 days, low luteal phase temperatures near the cover line and feeling tired throughout your cycle.

If you suspect you might be suffering from endometriosis and not just bad period pains, speak to your doctor and ask whether it could be possible. Before visiting your doctor, It is worth knowing that endometriosis takes on average 7.5 years from onset of symptoms to get a diagnosis [Ref. 1] as many doctors believe it doesn’t occur in young women. Unfortunately, there is no way of preventing endometriosis but there are ways of managing symptoms and in some cases, eradicating the disease with surgery.

So there you have it Cyclers, the reproductive organs are important to track along with your general health like your heartbeat or sleep patterns! Sex-tracking technologies, like Natural Cycles, have the power to help people take more charge of their health and communicate better with their doctors so there’s no more guessing games!  

 

References:

 

 

  • Diagnosis Survey. Endometriosis UK. February 2011.

 

 

When Will I Ovulate?

For couples trying to conceive (TTC), knowing your menstrual cycle is extremely important. One of the important questions you might be asking is; “ When will I ovulate? ”. That’s where Natural Cycles comes in. The app will tell you exactly when you are most fertile and give you a very accurate prediction of when you will ovulate by analysing your temperature and cycle. So you can get under the sheets with your loved one when it’s a good time and get to know your body while you’re at it. 

Let’s start with the basics.

Ovulation day is when an egg is released from the ovary and is ready to be fertilised by a sperm. An egg lives for up to 24 hours- As sperm can survive inside of you for up to 5 days,  this creates a 6 day fertile window, which is the timeframe when a woman can get pregnant. However, the likelihood of conceiving is dramatically increased if you have intercourse in the three days leading up to and including ovulation. If a woman has sex on any of these three days, she has a 27-33% chance of becoming pregnant [REF: Wilcox, A.J. et al. NEJM (1995) 333:1517].

Kalendar view: red colours indicate how fertile you are, the darker the red the more fertile you are

A good first step to get to know your cycle and find your fertile period is to know how long it is on average.  Day one is the first day of the menstrual period and the last day is the day before the next period begins. A general rule is the longer your cycle is, the later your ovulation day will be. For instance, a cycle that is long with 33 days between periods with an average ovulation day of CD 21, which means my most fertile days are CD 19, 20 and 21. If you have shorter cycle, say 21 days between periods, ovulation is likely to happen on CD 7 and your highest chance of getting pregnant will be on CD 5, 6, and 7.

However, these days are never set, especially for us irregular ladies. Have you ever noticed your period coming earlier or later than usual? Or ever wondered why your pregnancy test is negative even though you have no period? Well, it’s because a woman’s follicular phase, the first half of your cycle before ovulation, is often variable – my follicular phase can vary up to 6 days! What this all means is that your ovulation day can differ from cycle to cycle, which is why it is good to keep track of your temeprature and cycle with Natural Cycles. With a clear rise in temperature and a positive ovulation test (optional), ovulation can be confirmed and your fertile window is mapped for your upcoming cycle, which are indicated by red days. TIP: It is important to measure as much as possible in the week leading up to ovulation to ensure that we capture any variations!

 

Another popular question women ask about their cycles is, “When will I have my period?” or “When should I take a pregnancy test?”

Let’s review the second half of the cycle: The Luteal Phase.

This is the infertile stage of your cycle and is pretty consistent (usually around 12 to 14 days). This means it is a useful menstrual cycle characteristic that can be used to determine when you are likely to get your period, which is approx. 2 weeks after ovulation. However, you should know that the length of the luteal phase can also be quite individual and can vary between 6 and 18 days, so you should never assume that your ovulation day was two weeks prior to this. Instead it is much safer to calculate ovulation with reliable fertility indicators, such as temperature and ovulation prediction kits (OPKs), like we do.

Know when your period is coming up

Once Natural Cycles has detected your ovulation day it can accurately determine when your next period is due so you can keep calm and carry on!

Period trackers, which are based on the rhythm method, assume you are regular. Their primary goal is to let you know approximately when you can expect your next period, which will be around the same time each month as they do not detect ovulation or variations from your data. However, Natural Cycles, gets to know and adapts to your cycle no matter what shape or size it is, calculating your unique ovulation day each cycle giving you an accurate idea of when your period will come (variations included) each month.

At the end of your Luteal Phase, when you get your period, your temperatures will drop down again and the app will let you know a new cycle begins!


When will I ovulate and get my period?

 

 

Pregnancy tracker – plan users

Women usually take a pregnancy test from the first day of their missed period but not many know that the earliest point a woman can take a test is after the egg has been implanted in the endometrium at around day 9. It is fairly easy to recognise when you are pregnant if you are regular and know when your period is due but as mentioned before, if you are not, your period date could vary according to the length of your follicular or luteal phase each cycle.

Natural Cycles is a great tool for women that are planning a pregnancy, as it can determine from your data whether or not you have become pregnant! At the end of your Luteal Phase, if you don’t get your period and your temperature remains high (above the cover line) – the app will recommend that you take a pregnancy test to confirm it’s true.

 

Pregnant

 

If this is the case and you are pregnant, your temperature data entry dots will turn blue on your cycles chart.

Chart view: If your temperature stays elevated at the end of your luteal phase it means you might be pregnant and should take a pregnancy test to confirm. Blue dots indicate that you are pregnant.

As part of fertility awareness week, our next blog post we will talk about how fertility tracking can help you understand your reproductive health. Ask yourself, does your period come too often or maybe it doesn’t come at all? Find out answers next week or if you want to know sooner please get in touch with support@naturalcycles.com or visit ask.naturalcycles.com

Yours naturally,

The Natural Cycles team

xx

Meet a Cycler – Julia

Meet a Cycler – Julia

Natural Cycles gives women the skills they need to track and get to know their unique cycles better so that when a woman is ready she can switch from tracking her fertility to planning a pregnancy.

This is what Julia, a 22 year old ‘small town girl’ from Kristinehamn, Sweden is doing. She has recently started using Natural Cycles to prepare her body for next year, where she will switch to NaturalCycles plan mode to try for her first child.

“I’ve been using Natural Cycles for 2 months now. I love the idea of tracking my fertility as I feel like I’m doing my body a favour.”

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Photo: Private

“My boyfriend and I are planning to get pregnant some time next year and so I wanted to give ourselves the best opportunity to achieve a smooth pregnancy by taking back the control. Only 2 months in and I have already got to know my body better and how it works.”

Fertility is a continuum, which means everyone’s chances are different and many factors can influence your chances at any given time.  By understanding where you fall on the continuum and why with the help of fertility trackers, you can take action and seek advice if necessary. It is always better to be informed, so take back the control like Julia did and get to know your cycles!

If you have a story that you wish to share with the Cycler community, please get in touch via info@naturalcycles.com

Happy Thursday

The NaturalCycles Team

xx

Meet a Cycler – Frida

 Meet Frida!

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Frida is 21 and loves to travel – something you might gather from her picture!

She recently moved back to the South of Sweden and is currently working at a health centre. We spoke to Frida a couple of weeks ago and asked her about her birth control journey.

Frida has always felt that taking the contraceptive pill was “wrong”, and that it was prescribed with too little information and guidance.

 

That’s why Frida says Natural Cycles was the right decision for her – “Natural is definitely the way to go! I’m never going back to anything that changes my body again. I feel so much better now – my period is different,  I feel happier and my mood is more balanced.  After being on the pill for so long, Natural Cycles has allowed me to get to know my body much better.”

We asked her what her favourite thing about NaturalCycles was:

“It’s super easy and fits perfectly into my morning routine. Every morning the thermometer wakes me up with its beep.” she says laughing.

A piece of advise for future Cyclers:

 “Give it a go! You will be positively surprised, and will never want to go back to anything else ever again!”

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Thank you so much to Frida for sharing!  If anyone else is keen to share their journey with us then please get in touch: info@naturalcycles.com

The NaturalCycles Team

xx

 

What does a positive LH test mean?

“I took an LH-test which showed positive, however, Natural Cycles indicated that my ovulation day was in fact later than this?”

We’ve got the answer to the question you’ve all been asking:

The hormone LH actually rises before ovulation and does not indicate the day of ovulation. So while you might have a positive LH test, it does not indicate that you have ovulated, nor that you are ovulating at this very moment.

A positive LH test is rather an indication that ovulation is about to occur.

That’s why an ovulation test can be positive a few days before ovulation up until the day of ovulation. The algorithm takes LH tests as indicators into account, yet the temperature shift indicates and verifies that ovulation has indeed occurred. Sometimes LH tests can give what is called a false-positive. This means that even if the test indicates that your body is experiencing a rise in LH, it doesn’t actually mean that ovulation is going to happen within the next day or so as you’d expect. And to note, this can be especially true and common if you have Polycystic Ovaries Syndrome (PCOS). In these cases, NaturalCycles will not agree with the ovulation test because a rise in LH before ovulation has to also accompany a rise in temperature after ovulation. This is why combining both ovulation tests and temperature is such a powerful combination because together they confirm that ovulation has definitely occurred.

Your Natural Cycles team.