This is a joint giveaway with Hybrid Rasta Mama and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked “Win it!” for the mandatory entry and optional bonus entries.
CycleBeads is offering our readers one set of their classic beads and a years subscription to their new iCyclebeads Online.
From our reviewer, Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama:
I am one of those women who did not see a quick return of my cycle post-partum. I was struggling with health issues that basically took a huge toll on my hormones. Therefore, It wasn’t until my daughter was 3 ½ that my cycle returned. Kind of awesome, kind of not.
My husband and I have decided to continue the “only-child” tradition in my family and as such, are not having any more children. Family planning and pregnancy prevention has been a hot topic of conversation lately. I have some very real concerns about using any type of synthetic birth control. My husband is not a huge fan of condoms. So what is a sexually active couple to do?
I have always been pretty leery of any sort of natural family planning. Despite being fairly regular in my cycles, I am honestly too busy to remember to keep track of what days I am ovulating. However, when I had the opportunity to review a product called CycleBeads, I thought it would be the perfect time to really give natural family planning a fair shake.
CycleBeads are very easy to use. The day a woman starts her period she places the rubber ring on the red bead. Each day she moves the ring one bead forward, always in the direction of the arrow. When the ring is on the red bead or a colored bead, there is very low likelihood of pregnancy, so she can have intercourse on these days without getting pregnant. When the ring is on a white bead – Days 8 through 19 – she is in her fertile period and there is a high likelihood of getting pregnant if a woman has unprotected intercourse. If a woman wants to prevent pregnancy, she should avoid having unprotected intercourse on Days 8 through 19 (the days indicated by white beads). If a woman wants to achieve a pregnancy, she and her partner should have intercourse during these fertile days.
CycleBeads also come with a fertility calendar and a woman is encouraged to mark the first day of her period on it. If a user ever forgets if she has moved the ring on her CycleBeads, she can check the date she marked on the calendar.
While I really liked the basic idea of this, for me, moving a ring over a bead everyday was not going to happen. In addition, my curious daughter was quite taken with the CycleBeads and more often than not would have a great old time moving the rubber ring around. This clearly wasn’t going to do me any favor in terms of natural family planning!
The good news is that CycleBeads has both an online fertility tracking system as well as a smartphone app. To use CycleBeads online, a woman enters the start date of her most recent period into her private account. The web app shows her where she is in her cycle and whether she is on a day when pregnancy is likely or not according to the Standard Days Method of family planning. The information is provided on a calendar and a virtual representation of CycleBeads. A user will receive email alerts to let her know when she is on a fertile or non-fertile day, let her know when she is about to get her next period, and to remind her to enter her period start date. The smartphone app functions in much the same way only you will get alerts through the app and not via email.
I personally had great success with the CycleBeads online. It was very simple to register as not a lot of information is required. So long as you remember to enter the start date of your cycle, it does all the heavy lifting. When it was time for my husband and I to have some adult time, I checked online, saw that I was probably fertile, as we made sure to take precautions.
Who can use CycleBeads? This family planning method is most effective for women with menstrual cycles that are regularly between 26 and 32 days long. The CycleBeads and iCycleBeads tools will help a woman determine if her cycles are in this range and that they stay in this range. Women with cycles outside this range should use a different method of family planning to prevent pregnancy.
One of the online tools I really enjoyed was the screening tool! You answer some basic questions about your health, cycles, and current situations (pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc…) and CycleBeads gives you information about how well matched the program is for you at this time.
For example, I am still breastfeeding. When I answered the screening question pertaining to this, here is the response I received:
Wait until you have had 4 menstrual periods since your baby was born. After you have had 4 periods, if your last cycle was between 26 and 32 days long, you can start using CycleBeads on the first day of your next period. If you have had 4 periods since the birth of your baby and your last cycle was between 26 and 32 days long, click Continue below. If you have not had 4 periods since the birth of your baby and/or your last cycle was not between 26 and 32 days long, click Exit below.
Personally, I thought that this was a great feature that you might not be aware of if only relaying on the physical CycleBeads. It seems like CycleBeads might be most effective when using both the physical beads and either the online tools or the smartphone app jointly.
Overall, I like this product and think it is extremely useful for anyone using or interested in using natural family methods. It gives you more information than you might track on your own and even if you are excellent at tracking your cycles, this offers some back up and reassurance. The entire system is very easy to use and quite clever! I would recommend this wholeheartedly and plan on using it until my cycles are no longer a part of my reality.
You can purchase CycleBeads ($13.95), the online system ($12/year), or the smartphone app ($2.99) online.
For your own chance to win a set of classic beads from CycleBeads and a years subscription to iCyclebeads Online, enter by leaving a comment and using our Rafflecopter system below.
The winner will receive one set of classic beads and a years subscription to iCyclebeads Online App. Contest is open to the US only.
MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit CycleBeads and take the screening assessment to see if CycleBeads are right for you. Leave a comment on this post, letting us know if CycleBeads would work for you and which form of CycleBeads you would use! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on this blog post.
Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.
This is a joint giveaway with Hybrid Rasta Mama and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only, and we’ll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy both sites!
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Give it a try, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!
Contest closes December 29, 2012, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time.
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About our reviewer:
Jennifer, Cooking Naturally Editor, Volunteer Recognition Manager and Author of Hybrid Rasta Mama
Jennifer is a former government recruiter turned stay-at-home mama to a precious daughter (Aaliyah) brought earthside in March 2009. She is passionate about conscious, gentle parenting, natural health and wellness, holistic healing, real foods, coconut oil, and a Waldorf approach to education. Jennifer believes that it is extremely important for mothers to have a strong network of support and to that end has been active both in her local support networks as well as online support networks.