Billings Ovulation Method
Learn the Billings Ovulation Method with Becky
May 2022 Update:
I am not currently accepting 1:1 clients for the 6 month Billings Ovulation Method program.
If you want to learn Billings with me you can schedule a one-time private introduction session. This presentation teaches you everything you need to get started and I can refer you to another teacher should you need follow up support. Group sessions are also offered on a limited basis for $12 per person, please contact me for more info.
The Billings Ovulation Method was created by Drs. John and Evelyn Billings in the 1950s in response to the Catholic Church’s need for an acceptable form of pregnancy prevention that was more effective than the Rhythm Method. At the time, they were seeing just how ineffective the Rhythm Method really is since it does not take into consideration real-time biological signs of fertility.
In collaboration with researchers Erik Odeblad and Dr. James Brown, they were able to develop the method based on nearly 900,000 hormonal assays through Dr. Brown’s research and Odeblad’s research into the cervix, cervical mucus, and fertility. Dr. Evelyn Billings began teaching women and furthered the development of the method with practical research. The Billings Ovulation Method and the research done to develop it is, in large part, where other fertility awareness based methods draw their foundation from for their cervical mucus guidelines. Many consider Billings to be the OG of fertility awareness.
The Billings Ovulation Method is the most studied fertility awareness based method. You can read more about the details of some of those studies outlined here. But to summarize, correct use averages around 99% (similar to IUD efficacy), with typical use averaging around 91% (similar to pill efficacy). You can see more comparison efficacy rates here.
Any fertility awareness based method is only as effective as you make it. Efficacy requires dedication to learning and following the method guidelines in full, and good, constant communication with your partner.
Everyone! The Billings Ovulation Method can be used in every stage of life, whether you are in regular cycles, irregular cycles, post birth control, postpartum, or even perimenopausal. The rules are the same for every person in every stage of life, but how they are applied depends on your own individual cycle. What you learn now can be used for a lifetime.
Billings is particularly helpful for irregular cycles because of how it is able to identify infertile patterns. Women in the postpartum period find it especially helpful for this reason. It is often able to provide more “safe days” than other fertility awareness based methods.
The only situation I’ve seen it get tricky in is uncontrolled health issues with fluctuating cervical mucus production, especially PCOS. But the great thing about Billings is that it teaches us to read what our hormones are doing based on our patterns, so we’re able to get clues about our hormone health, even in tricky circumstances. Once you start with Billings, if you find that you fall into this category, I can refer you to a physician who has been trained to use your Billings chart as a diagnostic tool to get your health and hormones under control.
I have PCOS myself and learning Billings was life-changing and hugely beneficial to the management of my PCOS. I am incredibly grateful to be able to work with a doctor who can use my charts to get my PCOS under control and I could not recommend it more.
I teach the Billings Ovulation Method through a 6 month program, outlined as such:
- First session is the main teaching presentation and takes 75-90 minutes
- Second session will occur 2 weeks after the first and will last 30-45 minutes to review first 2 weeks of charting
- Third session will occur 2 weeks after the last session and will be 60-75 minutes, involving a second teaching presentation and chart review
- Fourth session will occur 2 weeks from the last and will last about 30 minutes to review the chart
- After the first 6-8 weeks, follow up sessions will occur about every 4 weeks, or as needed, through the 6 months
No, basal body temperature is not a part of this method. Many individuals look into Billings after already having learned another fertility awareness method, typically the symptothermal method, which does require temperatures.
The Billings Ovulation Method is a mucus-only method. The primary fertility sign it uses is vulvar sensation caused by cervical mucus or other discharges. Appearance of discharge, or cervical mucus, is also charted if observed. Not everyone sees visible signs of cervical mucus, so this method is particularly helpful for those who struggle with their cervical mucus observations.
Because Billings does not involve temperature, it’s a great option for anyone who may struggle with temperature based methods. This may be you if you have an irregular wake schedule, frequently disturbed sleep, shift work, or are postpartum.
Many of my clients wish to take their BBT anyway while learning Billings. My recommendation is to wait until you have completed the 6 month program and fully understand the Billings Ovulation Method as it was designed. If you try to do it while using other methods, you have a higher chance of struggling to learn the Billings Ovulation Method.
If you want to add BBT at the end but don’t know how to interpret your temperatures, you can pay for a completely separate one-time consultation after the 6 months to learn more. Adding temperatures to the Billings Ovulation Method is considered typical use rather than correct use. Once you’ve learned the method in full you may find it unnecessary, but it’s a personal decision.
The short answer is yes, there is some abstinence involved. It is recommended to start charting from the day of the first session when we go over the first teaching presentation together. For the first 2 weeks it is imperative that you abstain from all genital contact (including any kind of oral) in order to identify what is called your Basic Infertile Pattern. Without this period of abstinence it will be difficult, and potentially impossible, to learn and apply the method. For some, additional periods of abstinence may be required in order to establish the Basic Infertile Pattern, but this is less common.
If you are someone with regular cycles (<35 days) who has some form of discharge every day of your cycle (ie no dry days at all), you can expect to abstain in the pre-ovulatory phase (pre-peak) for the first 3 cycles. You will, however, be able to apply the peak rule and have intercourse throughout the luteal phase.
Once your Basic Infertile Pattern is established and you are able to apply all 4 rules to your cycles, abstinence is strongly recommended on days of potential fertility.
To be clear, if you want to correctly follow the method and obtain the highest efficacy as studied, abstinence is a requirement on days of potential fertility. While you are still within the 6 months of learning with me, I ask that you fully follow the method as taught, including abstaining according to the rules. Your family planning decisions are yours and your partner’s to make, and none of my business. I do not judge or shame. But from experience as a user and a teacher, it is difficult to learn the method thoroughly if you knowingly choose not to follow the rules.
Once you understand the method and how to apply the rules to your cycles, it is much easier to make fully informed and educated decisions about taking risks with the rules. Taking risks, known or unknown, falls under typical use efficacy rather than correct use.
I do not recommend using other methods of contraception in our 6 months together. The official stance of Billings organizations is that other methods are not compatible. While you are learning the method, I strongly recommend following the method as taught. This ensures that you learn the method fully and can make educated decisions when you’re on your own.
Some alternative options can make using Billings more difficult. For example, anything that adds an outside substance can obscure your observations; such as lube or spermicide found on condoms, or spermicide used with diaphragms. Pre-ejaculate, even if withdrawal occurs before ejaculation, can sometimes interfere with observations, and in some cases lead to pregnancy. Even arousal fluid can complicate observations. It’s very individual.
Some women/couples do not have religious restrictions and are okay with the added risk of choosing to use a back-up method. All I can recommend is that you understand the efficacy of your chosen back-up because once you bring in another method the efficacy of the chosen back-up applies rather than the correct use of the Billings Ovulation Method.
Beyond what I’ve said here, I cannot instruct on these things while teaching the authentic Billings Ovulation Method.
I do not recommend using Read Your Body for the 6 month program. In fact, I’m not allowed to teach the authentic Billings Ovulation Method with Read Your Body. Read Your Body is considered an unapproved app by WOOMB International and its affiliates. Because Read Your Body is so comprehensive it can make the learning phase more confusing or difficult.
You have several options to choose from for charting Billings. Every client receives a packet of physical materials in the mail when they start with me, and this includes a paper chart (good for 3+ cycles) and stickers (“stamps”). I can also provide an Excel spreadsheet or Google Sheets version of the paper chart for desktop or mobile use upon request.
If, at the end of our time together, you decide to switch to Read Your Body (I can’t stop you), you can pay for a completely separate consultation with me to learn how to use Read Your Body effectively.
Using an unapproved option falls under typical use rather than correct use for efficacy.
No. While the Billings Ovulation Method was developed primarily by Catholics, anyone can use it. Many of the teachers are also Catholic, some are not. I am a Protestant Christian and do not hold all of the same beliefs as Catholics. I accept clients regardless of their faith or belief system.
While I am still in practicum I am taking clients by donation. This means that you decide how much you want to pay me.
Because your working with me requires me to communicate with my practicum supervisor about your charts, and I ultimately benefit from our time together in completing my certification, I want to provide this at a reasonable cost to you.
I am currently accepting applications. I take clients through an application process so you can state what you are willing to donate and I can decide if the donation is reasonable for my time and resources.
I work as a fertility awareness educator part-time and I do so because I enjoy educating, but I also have a family to support and my time and energy is valuable. For comparison, my 6 month symptothermal program costs $400 in full or $75 per month.
I have accepted clients for as little as $100, and as much as $300+. Keep in mind that the mailed materials cost about $20. All I ask is that, as you examine your finances and your own needs, you be fair to both of us when deciding what you are willing to pay.
You can fill out the short application here and I will get back to you in a few days.
May 2022 update: I am not currently accepting clients for the 6 month program. If you apply through the link above you will be added to my waitlist and notified when I begin accepting clients again.