The Billings Ovulation Method is one of several methods of Natural Family Planning. It is a cervical mucus only method, which means there is only one symptom to chart. For some women, this is an easy to use method because of that fact. Some also believe that it is more reliable than other methods because charting mucus alone is more pure than bringing other symptoms into the mix. Others have a hard time with it for the exact same reasons.
So how does it work? Cervical mucus is an easy symptom to check, especially with this method. Billings doesn’t recommend any internal checks, so all you have to do is check at your vulva. If there is no mucus present and it feels dry, that is called a dry day. Once mucus has started appearing you note the texture and appearance. As it becomes fertile, the mucus becomes clear (think egg whites) and stretches between your fingers without breaking. The last day of fertile mucus is called the peak day. If you’re dry again on the fourth day you’re considered infertile again.
Billings has a very different charting system than other methods. You start out with a chart and stickers. Day 1 of your cycle starts out the same as any other method, with your period. You place a red sticker on the first rectangle and continue placing red stickers for every day you have bleeding. Some charts have spotted stickers for spotting. There are also plain green and yellow stickers; as well as white, green and yellow with a baby printed on them.
Green stickers are used for dry days both before and after ovulation. White baby stickers are used once the dry day’s end, if there are any at all, up until your peak day. The next day you choose a yellow or green baby sticker depending on how your cervical mucus changed. If it’s sticky and opaque you place a yellow baby sticker on that days spot, if dry you place a green baby sticker. You use these for three days after the peak day. After three days all dry days are green stickers again and any days with mucus are yellow. Menstruation should start a couple weeks or so (it does vary woman to woman) after your peak day.
Does that sound confusing? Visually it’s very easy to follow… I’d say it’s probably one of the easiest charts to read after the fact. Putting it into practice can be another story. The Billings Ovulation Method is one that definitely needs to be learned either in a classroom setting or by an online instructor.