I have recently qualified in a teacher training course enabling me to teach other women how to use the Billings Ovulation Method of natural family planning. Honestly, I think most of my friends think I ‘m nuts when i tell them about it, but it is extremely well researched, and the science behind it is very solid. It has worked for us for nearly 6 years now (and a number of friends have had success with it for longer than that), so I am on a bit of a mission to make this method of family planning more widely known, and get more women in tune with their bodies…
What is the Billings Ovulation Method? The Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) is a method of natural fertility management that helps you become aware of your natural signs of fertility in order to avoid or achieve pregnancy. You do this mainly through observing any sensations of discharge or slipperiness you feel down below during your day and any visible signs of mucus. The method was developed by a husband and wife team, Dr John and Evelyn Billings, who studied thousands of women’s cycles in order to determine the natural signs the body displays during its fertile and infertile times. It is fully endorsed by the World Health Organisation as an effective and approved method of family planning.
Why would I want to use the Billings Method? – Reliable – The BOM has been the most researched method of regulating fertility, and its evidence base is huge. For avoiding pregnancy it is as effective as the pill and the implant and has better success rates than condoms and IUDs – AND it has none of the side effects.
In a 5-year study of the BOM with couples trying to get pregnant the pregnancy rate was 78%. Amazingly, out of the couples in the study who had previously attempted IVF or AI (artificial insemination) without success, 65% conceived naturally with the BOM (www.BillingsOvulationMethod.org)
– Simple to use – There are 4 rules to learn for avoiding pregnancy ( see here for a detailed description) once you know them, and understand the science behind them, they become second nature. I keep track of my cycle on the Billings Method app so I can add to it at any point in the day.
– Free – Although you could learn the method yourself from a book, it is highly recommended that you learn the method from a certified teacher (it has been proven to have a much higher success rate if you do). You would have an initial consultation and then follow-up appointments for as long as you need. There is a suggested donation of £20 on your first consultation (this is not a business for me, it is voluntary, so any money goes straight back into promoting the BOM)
– Safe and non invasive – Always good!
– Drug free and natural – So no side effects.
– Keeps you in tune with your body – Which means you are more likely to notice any changes in your cycle that may need medical attention. Recent research has demonstrated that women who chart their cycles are much more likely to notice changes that indicate thyroid problems, diabetes and many other health issues.
– Helps build on your relationship with your partner – The BOM is not just reliant on the woman (as so many methods of contraception are), it is something you keep track of together. By learning the method as a couple (ideally) and communicating with each other, both of you understand the stages of the woman’s cycle and what rules you need to follow. Yes, there are stages in your cycle where you will need to abstain, but honestly this just makes things more exciting for when that period has ended!
– Safe and reliable method to use while breastfeeding and premenopause – This can be a confusing time for you understanding your cycle, but by following the rules of the BOM you can still safely avoid/plan pregnancy.
– Has a solid scientific background – The woman’s cycle has been designed to have a short fertile period and then natural pauses around this time, and the body has amazing ways of ensuring that when you are not fertile (believe it or not!) you can’t get pregnant! Your body gives off signs that mean you can read these different times in your cycle, and each of these signs has a scientific reason behind it… The rules of the BOM are based on this science.
Myth busting – There is no need to dig around ‘down there’ to identify the fertile signs. It is purely about noting ‘what you feel’ as you go about your day. Any visible signs are an added bonus. – Natural family planning is not just something for Catholics. This is something anyone can use, especially anyone who is dissatisfied with the current options for family planning.
My Story I started using the BOM about 5 years ago, after I got pregnant while still breastfeeding my 9 month old son (now 7!). Looking back, although I was always aware of my cycle and tried to keep track of my fertility through taking my temperature daily, I think I was relying too much on the contraceptive effects of breastfeeding, and this is where I slipped up. I was also completely unaware of the signs of returning fertility while breastfeeding. So, once I’d had my second son and was breastfeeding him, I decided to learn the BOM after a couple of friends recommended it to me. We learnt the method from a lady in London, called Veronica Pierson (now my mentor who I am doing the teacher training course with). She taught us the method over an initial consultation, and then through some follow-up appointments over the phone. I learnt how to read my cycle through breastfeeding, and how to recognise the signs that my fertility was returning. We have now been using it the method for 2 years, and I cannot tell you how brilliant it is. If nothing else, it is so nice understanding your cycle and not messing it up with hormones and other devices. I can honestly say that it has contributed greatly to Lance and I having a deeper and more loving relationship, and I hope to carry on using it for the rest of my life.
If you are local to the Oxfordshire area and are interested in learning the method from me then please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Alternatively if you are not local but would like to find out about teachers in your area then visit the Billings Method England website and fill out their ‘contact us’ page.