The Billings Ovulation Method

How Paying Attention to Vulva Wetness Can Help You Conceive

Woman's panties at ankels in bathroom, paying attention to cervical mucus on your underwear is part of The Billings Ovulation Method
With the Billings Method, you need to pay attention to discharge (or cervical mucus) found on your underwear. Photo: B2MProductions / Photographer's Choice RF / Getty Images

The Billings Ovulation Method was developed by Dr. John and Evelyn Billings of Melbourne, Australia in the 1950s. Sometimes it's referred to as The Billings Method or just The Ovulation Method. It is a form of natural family planning used by some couples to prevent pregnancy and by other couples to achieve pregnancy.

Whether or not this method can act as reliable birth control is very questionable.

However, the method can be very useful if you want to get pregnant. 

How Does the Billings Ovulation Method Work?

The cervix produces cervical mucus throughout the menstrual cycle. The amount and consistency of this mucus changes throughout the month.

Most of the time, it's rather dry and sticky.

As ovulation approaches, the cervix produces what's known as fertile cervical mucus. This cervical mucus is more abundant, slippery, and wet.

While the mucus is formed by the cervix, it can usually be felt by vulva area as well.

The Billings Ovulation Method has women take notice of the dry or wet sensations of their vulva throughout the month, recording what they felt at the end of each day.

They are also supposed to pay attention to any discharge on their underwear throughout their cycle.

When a woman feels an increase in the sensation of wetness and notices more cervical mucus on her underwear, she is considered to be most fertile.

This would be the best time to have sex to get pregnant.

Pros of Using the Billings Ovulation Method to Get Pregnant

The Billings Ovulation Method does not require you to take your temperature every morning, making it an easier method of ovulation tracking than body basal temperature charting.

It also does not ask you to check for cervical mucus internally or with your finger, but instead, to just be "more aware" of the dry and wetness sensations of your vulva.

It's an inexpensive method of detecting ovulation. While you can take a class where they will teach you in more detail how to use the method, you can also educate yourself through many books on the subject.

There are special charts and stamps you can buy, but there's no reason you can't track things on a regular calendar with your own symbols or notes.

Cons of Using the Billings Ovulation Method to Get Pregnant

On the other hand, not every woman will experience noticeable changes in vulva wetness as ovulation approaches.

This is especially true for women in their late 30s and 40s, who may have less quality fertile cervical mucus than women who are younger. For these women, it may be necessary to check internally for mucus changes.

Another disadvantage of this method is it cannot confirm whether or not ovulation is taking place.

While an increase in cervical mucus can warn you that ovulation may be approaching, it cannot guarantee that ovulation will in fact happen.

With body basal temperature charting, a rise in temperature will let you know that ovulation has really taken place.

For added reassurance, some women will use both basal body temperature charting and cervical mucus charting together.

More on ovulation:

Sources:

World Organisation of the Ovulation Method Billings. The Billings Ovulation Method. Accessed December 30, 2009. http://www.woomb.org/bom/rules/index.html

Billings Ovulation Method Association - USA. Accessed December 30, 2009. http://www.boma-usa.org/

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