What is the Billings Ovulation Method?
Billings is a method of natural family planning. It involves tracking sensation at the vulva and visible appearance of cervical mucus as a person goes about their day to day activities. Four rules are applied to chart to avoid pregnancy in all life stages including perimenopause, postpartum, irregular cycles, and regular cycles. It can also be used to achieve pregnancy or chart for health. Billings is approximately 99% effective with correct use. You can learn more about the method at these websites:
BOMA USA (my certifying organization)
WOOMB (international organization)
Can femtech make this easier for me?
Maybe yes, maybe no. I do not recommend any femtech with predictive qualities. Cycles can always change. You should determine your fertile window yourself. I do recommend in some cases the Tempdrop thermometer and Proov test strips for people wanting a progesterone sign in their chart.
Can I chart with irregular cycles? What about postpartum?
Yes, and yes. Charting involves real-time fertility signs. You will be able to adequately track your fertility by doing close follow-ups with an instructor and charting your fertility signs. I recommend learning the Billings Ovulation Method for irregular cycles or continuous cervical mucus. Charting postpartum may have a slightly lower efficacy at 98% with correct use.
Can I chart if unmarried? Is charting a religious thing?
While charting fertility signs is promoted by the Catholic church, you do not be religious or married to use it. Many people who are interested in a natural lifestyle use fertility awareness. I am secular, and my courses will never include religious elements.
How effective is this method?
Almost all modern fertility awareness based methods have efficacy of 99% or greater with correct use. Typical use will vary widely from anywhere from 1% to 24% failure rate. Typical use includes: not following the rules properly, using a known fertile day, misinterpreting the cycle, not using abstinence in the fertile window, being taught incorrectly, etc. Correct use means following the rules as designed and keeping up with your instructor follow-ups. There is no known efficacy for self-teaching the Billings Ovulation Method or the sympto-thermal method. Read my blog on common misconceptions about mucus-only efficacy.
Can I chart other fertility signs in your Billings Ovulation Method class? What if I want to use barrier methods?
I am not allowed to comment on other fertility signs while teaching the authentic Billings Ovulation Method. However, you may continue to chart them on the side. Correct use with Billings means using it to determine when to have sex to avoid pregnancy. If you use alternative methods besides Billings to decide when to have sex, you are no longer practicing correct use of the Billings method. Likewise, barrier methods mean that you are outside of correct use. Consider your fertility intentions and how open you are to pregnancy. Billings method itself is approxinately 98-99% effective with correct use.
Are there any medical advantages to using this method?
Yes, there are many. Charting with Billings will teach you how long your luteal phase is and how to detect unusual bleeding or discharge. Some doctors are trained in Billings or other methods and may use your chart to diagnose these issues.