You may have seen the advertisements on Facebook, or maybe while you were googling “Natural Family Planning” you saw the sponsored post. I’ve been seeing the ads for CycleBeads popping up a lot lately and they make my stomach turn.
There was a picture here, but due to copyright infringement, we must take it down. Here is a Google Image Search instead.
CycleBeads are based on the notion that a woman always ovulates on the same day in her cycle. Typically, that day is day 14 for a 28 day cycle. Modern research has shown this to be a false assumption. Anything based on this “method” is doing a disservice to men and women everywhere. Very few women have perfectly regular cycles. Even with regular cycles, it is not a guarantee that the woman ovulates on day 14. She could have a short luteal phase and ovulate on day 20. Or day 18. Or day 12. Whatever, the point is CycleBeads is the old, outdated, and dangerous RHYTHM METHOD (also called the Standard Days Method), just jazzed up in 21st century terms.
The Rhythm Method is NOT Natural Family Planning.
CycleBeads are dangerous because a woman who does not ovulate like clockwork (she is not a machine!) and who is trying to get pregnant will not find any help with CycleBeads. A woman who is trying to postpone or avoid pregnancy will also find that CycleBeads offers only empty promises. In either scenario, both women are being set up for major disappointment and hurt, and especially for the woman trying to avoid pregnancy, CycleBeads poses a threat to her health, the health of any future children, and the health of her relationship.
CycleBeads and other “methods” like it are not NFP. Natural Family Planning recognizes the woman as an individual with a unique cycle pattern. NFP uses a woman’s bodily cues to determine her fertile and infertile times, not a set of beads on a string which her body “should” correspond to.
So let’s recap:
CycleBeads is the Rhythm Method
The Rhythm Method is never NFP
CycleBeads is not NFP