If you have a regular menstrual cycle, which is between 26 and 32 days and are looking for a natural approach to conception and contraception CycleBeads may be for you.

How It Works

This easy to use system enables you to track your cycle without having to write anything down. Based on a natural family planning method called 'standard days', this simple string of beads enable you to know at a glance where you are in your cycle. By starting on the first day of your period and simply moving a marker along the beads every day, you can easily see whether you are in your 'fertile window' or not. The beads are different colors, with darker colors for the days when there is a very low chance of getting pregnant and light beads representing the days when pregnancy is possible. As there are only certain days in the month that you can get pregnant, if you avoid having unprotected sex on those days, you shouldn't get pregnant. You would need to abstain or use a barrier method of contraception when the beads show you are between days 8 -19 of your menstrual cycle. Whereas if you are trying to get pregnant these are the perfect days to have sex.

You could wear these beads as a pretty necklace if you want or just keep it in your pocketbook or bedside table for easy reference. The white beads even glow in the dark to make it easy to do a quick check to see where you are in your cycle in the middle of the night.

iPhone Application

If have an iPhone and want to be totally up to date you can even get an iTunes CycleBeads application. This application is just as visual as the string of beads. In fact you can have your 'fertile window' information shown as a string of beads, or you can have it in a calendar format. You can also input your menstrual cycle history into the application so that you can see exactly how regular your cycle is and whether this method is applicable for you. The technology also enables you to get reminders for example of when to expect your period, your fertile window and alerts in case you forget to enter your cycle information.


This system is only suitable for women who have regular cycles, and works on a standard formula for the average woman. It only considers the length of your menstrual cycle and doesn't look at any other additional information. Other natural methods consider factors like your cervical mucus or saliva pattern, your hormone levels, the position of your cervix and your basal body temperature.

However, when used properly with complete abstinence during the 'fertile window' CycleBeads has about a 95% success rate in avoiding pregnancy. For the more typical user who may use other methods of contraception or who 'takes a chance' during 'the fertile window' the success rate falls to about 88%. It also of course doesn't protect against STDs. So it's not a method to use if getting pregnant would cause you a problem, but it can be very helpful if you want to space your family. It is an easy method to use and is helpful if you find it difficult to keep track of your BBT or other fertile indicators.

This method also helps couples who are trying for a baby and aren't aware of when their 'fertile days' are. If you aren't pregnant after six months of 'trying' consider using other natural indicators or get a gynecological check up.