Wouldn't it be great if there was a simple, science-backed, low-tech, and virtually free method for understanding your fertility, so you could use it to achieve or avoid pregnancy as you desire?
Good news girls - there totally is!
It's called the Billings Ovulation Method. It teaches you to track the body's natural signals of fertility to identify whether you are in a fertile or infertile phase of your cycle. By following the rules of the method, you can achieve or avoid a pregnancy. It's also helpful in gaining insight into your reproductive health, allowing you to have greater awareness (and key information for your doctor) about how healthfully things are functioning “down there”.
I came across the Billings Ovulation Method about 8 months ago. I suspected it was yet another version of "The Rhythm Method" – which is notoriously unreliable whether you are trying to achieve or avoid a pregnancy. I was happily surprised to find that the Billings Ovulation Method teaches women to understand their bodies and fertility cycles, could be used without much cost or any fancy-pants technology, just a simple daily paper record, AND has a plethora of science backing it up dating as far back as the 1960s! Jackpot! I was so impressed with it, I have subsequently taken training so that I may teach the Billings Ovulation Method to my patients.
Why don't we already know about it? It is a well known method in both Australia and Asia, although for some reason is not part of the common health knowledge base in North America. Likely because it was discovered in Australia, and its use seems to have grown slowly and organically over time. It's just now reaching us.
The Billings Ovulation Method simply teaches you to recognize your body's natural signal of fertility – the sensation and appearance of cervical mucous – and to track it with a simple daily record. The method teaches you how to identify fertile and infertile times in your monthly cycle using your collected data. Once you know your fertility status, there are 4 simple rules that can be applied to help you achieve or avoid pregnancy as you desire.
We know from the research that cervical mucus is essential for fertility. It has key functions with respect to ensuring only healthy sperm gain access to the uterine environment and finally the ovum (your egg). With a little attention, women can be taught to track the sensation and appearance of their cervical mucus at the vulva (exterior vagina). Through training in the method you learn to confidently identify your basic infertile pattern, your changing pattern of fertility, your peak of fertility, and your post-ovulation pattern. These patterns vary from woman to woman, but are personal to you, and remarkably do not vary much within the same woman. Your pattern is your pattern. Once you know it, you're all set. That said, you must commit to keeping a simple daily record to ensure you apply the rules correctly when the goal is to achieve or avoid a pregnancy.
The method can be used by all women! Once learned correctly it can be used whether their cycles are regular or irregular, whether they are experiencing puberty, coming off the pill, breastfeeding, or menopause. These are traditionally confusing life stages for a woman with respect to her fertility as hormones are notoriously fluctuating... and the Billings Ovulation Method is robust enough to handle them. (Are you seeing why I love it yet?)
That said, I will highlight that for those looking to avoid a pregnancy, the Billings Ovulation Method will not prevent any sexually transmitted infections as there is no physical barrier between you and your partner. For this reason, it is my recommendation that you only consider choose this method if you are in a monogamous and high-trust relationship.
This method is best for the woman who knows she can be compliant in sticking to a simple daily habit. Once trained to use it correctly, you'll be clear and confident on your fertility status, but it will be up to you to apply the rules. You must know you can commit to doing it right and consistently. The good news it is even simpler than brushing your teeth once you're trained.
Regardless of whether you are trying to achieve or avoid pregnancy, I would recommend this method and training for every woman. This is a key understanding about your reproductive health. I honestly feel it should be taught in schools to our young girls during sex ed class. As the Billings Ovulation Method's tagline goes, “This is knowledge of her body that every woman should have.”
Once per month, I run a in-person workshop at the clinic to introduce and train women how to use the method. The cost for this 1 hour workshop is just $35 CAD. For women who have completed the workshop, I do offer a program to work with women one on one for 3 months to ensure they are clear and confident in the application of the method.
Are you ready to unlock the secret knowledge of your own fertility?
Dr. Laura Nurse, BBA, ND
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