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Intro to The "Billings Method"

of charting ovulation

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During the days leading up to ovulation, cervical mucus leaves the vagina when the woman is in the upright position and as she moves about. The mucus is observed at the vulva:

(1) By the changing sensations of the vulva over the whole day.

(2) By direct inspection of visible mucus from time to time.

The recording of these observations is made at the end of each day. The record reveals the patterns of infertility and fertility.

The requirements of fertility are:

(1) A satisfactory ovulation.

(2) Healthy fallopian tubes which allow the passage of sperm cells to meet the ovum and then nourish and assist the embryo to proceed to the cavity of the uterus for implantation.

(3) A healthy endometrium for implantation.

(4) An adequate cervical function to produce mucus which will enable healthy sperm cells to navigate the genital tract.

(5) Emotional harmony between husband and wife, which facilitates conception

Keeping a Record

A daily record of observations made at the vulva is essential for the Billings Ovulation Method.

The recording is made in the evening of the most fertile characteristics noticed throughout the day.

The first record, which is begun immediately, should be made for 2 - 4 weeks continuously and is made without any genital contact so that the observations will not be confused by any secretions due to intercourse or contact.

The chart provides information for the husband too and provides opportunity for communication and decision making. There must be no internal examinations made as these will be confusing.

To help you become more aware of your cycles, think about how you know when menstruation begins. Most women will say that they both feel and see the bleeding as it arrives at the vulva. The event is recorded as a symbol as seen in the sample chart below.

The recording of sensation and appearance will then be made of all other observations you make at the vulva. As the days go by you will recognize your patterns of fertility and infertility, according to the patterns of discharge. Menstruation is indicated by this symbolOvulation as indicated in the sample chart below.

Spotting or decreased flow is indicated with this symbol Billings as indicated in the sample chart below.

Sample Chart

Symbol        
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Wet Wet Wet Sticky Dry        

 

Following menstruation the cervix is blocked or closed with a thick, dense plug of mucus which prevents the passage of sperm cells into the cervix and which also protects the body from infection. The sperm cells which are kept out in the vagina very quickly become incapable of fertilizing the ovum and are destroyed by surrounding cells.

At this stage there is nothing leaving the cervix and the vulva feeling dry. Nothing is felt and nothing is seen.
The recording of this observation is made with a the symbol Billings Method as indicated in the sample chart below:

Sample Chart

Symbol
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Wet Wet Wet Sticky Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry

 

During a "basic infertile pattern" of dryness There is no entry of sperm into the cervix because of a thick dense plug of mucus.

Following intercourse, the discharge of seminal fluid from the vagina may last for 24 hours and be felt as a wetness at the vulva. This seminal fluid contains no live sperm cells. They will have been destroyed within an hour or two in the vagina when the cervix prevents them from entering the uterus.

Basic Infertile Pattern is an unchanging pattern that reflects cervical inactivity. In cycles of average length it is recognized by:

(1) Unchanging dryness, or

(2) Dry vulva with a small amount of mucus seen and which is the same every day. Three cycles are studied in order to identify correctly the point of change of (1) sensation or (2) the appearance of the mucus or both.

Sample Chart

Symbol      
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Wet Wet Sticky Dry
Slight
Mucus
Dry
Slight
Mucus
Dry
Slight
Mucus
Dry
Slight
Mucus
     
Symbol
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Wet Wet Wet Sticky Dry
Slight
Mucus
Dry
Slight
Mucus
Dry
Slight
Mucus
Dry
Slight
Mucus
Dry
Slight
Mucus
Dry
Slight
Mucus
Symbol    
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Wet Wet Sticky Dry
Slight
Mucus
Dry
Slight
Mucus
Dry
Slight
Mucus
Dry
Slight
Mucus
Dry
Slight
Mucus
   

Basic Infertile Pattern of mucus remains the same day after day, cycle after cycle [recorded with the symbol but then recorded with the symbol when the pattern is seen to be unchanging].

There is no entry of sperm into the cervix because of the plug of mucus.

Very little oestrogen is being produced.

The cervix is occluded (blocked) and there is no sperm penetration.

If the discharge remains the same day after day for three cycles, it is a sign of infertility. The vulva feels dry and the mucus, which results from small fragments breaking off from the lower part of the plug, is slight and cloudy. This unchanging pattern of infertility is common for many women.

Point of Change

The ovaries are now active and are producing oestrogen (- - -), which stimulates the cervix to activity.

Fluid mucus is produced and this frees the plug so sperm can now enter the cervix.

A change in sensation from dry to no longer dry is now experienced at the vulva and is recorded on the chart with the symbol . The appearance of the mucus may be thick and cloudy. This cloudy, sticky mucus does not indicate infertility. The fact that it has arrived at the vulva means that it has left the cervix, leaving it open to sperm cells.

Sample Chart

Symbol
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Wet Wet Wet Sticky Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Sticky
Cloudy

In the same way where there is a Basic Infertile Pattern of mucus the ovary has become active. The point of change is noted at the vulva where the sensation changes, indicating that now the sperm cells can enter the cervix. The recording of this change is made with the symbol.

The changing pattern of fertility

The ovary is producing greater and greater amounts of oestrogen.

The mucus is changing from being sticky to a wet, slippery sensation.

Clear strings of mucus may be noticed. The maximum amount of mucus may diminish and a slippery sensation continue for a day or two.

The last day of the slippery sensation is the most fertile day in the cycle and is termed the Peak because it is the peak day of fertility and is associated with a heightened sensitivity and swelling of the vulva.

Cycle day 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Symbol
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Wet Wet Wet Sticky Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Sticky
Cloudy
Wet
Clear
Slippery
Clear
Slippery
Clear
Strings
Cycle day 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
Symbol                      
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Slippery Slippery                        

The Peak, the last day of slippery sensation is marked with a (x) on the . This point is very close to the time of ovulation. Already the ovary is producing progesterone as the follicle is preparing to shed the ovum into the fallopian tube. Progesterone is activating the lower part of the cervix to produce thick, sticky mucus which, over the next 3 days, will gradually close the canal of the cervix.

However, during these 3 days there remain small channels through which sperm cells can travel. These rapidly reach the outer part of the fallopian tube where the egg cell will be waiting to be fertilized. The progesterone has an influence on the mucus so that the woman appreciates the change in sensation at the vulva and she feels dry or sticky.

Cycle day 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Symbol
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Wet Wet Wet Sticky Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Sticky
Cloudy
Wet
Clear
Slippery
Clear
Slippery
Clear
Strings
Cycle day 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
Symbol                      
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Slippery Slippery Dry                      

 

Day 1 past the Peak. Ovulation has occurred (or is imminent) and sensations at the vulva are no longer slippery, but either dry or sticky. They are recorded with a the symbol in the above sample chart.

There is no longer any lubricative sensation at the vulva. This is due to changes both in the cervix and in the lower part of the vagina, which are both under hormonal control. The mucus is dried as it passes through the vagina.

The Luteal Phase

The luteal phase of the cycle, from the fourth day after the Peak the cervix is closed with a thick plug of mucus, preventing sperm cells from entering the cavity of the uterus. If there has been no genital contact from the beginning of the first point of change to the beginning of the fourth day past the Peak, the egg will not have been fertilized and will disintegrate in the fallopian tube.

Sample Chart

Cycle day 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Symbol
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Wet Wet Wet Sticky Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Dry Sticky
Cloudy
Wet
Clear
Slippery
Clear
Slippery
Clear
Strings
Cycle day 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
Symbol
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Slippery Slippery Dry Sticky Sticky Sticky Dry Dry
Cloudy
Dry
Cloudy
Dry
Cloudy
Dry Moist
Cloudy
Dry Dry
Cycle day 29 30 31 32 33 34 35              
Symbol Billings method Billings                        
Sensation/
Appearance
of discharge
Dry Dry                        

By day 4 past the Peak the ovum has disintegrated. There is no entry of sperm into the cervix. Now record for discharge birth control or for dry billings. The egg has gone, the woman is infertile.

Menstruation heralds the end of the cycle, usually 11 - 16 days after ovulation, and the start of the next cycle. The plug has left the cervix to allow the passage of blood from the uterus to the exterior. The ovaries have now returned to their quiescent state.

The Rules of the Billings Ovulation Method

For the Achievement of Pregnancy:

Apply the Early Day Rules. This enables the change to the fertile pattern of mucus to be recognized. Then postpone intercourse until slippery mucus occurs. The next few days are the most fertile. Therefore intercourse should occur while slippery mucus is obvious and for one or two days past the Peak.

For the Postponement of Pregnancy:

(a) The Early Day Rules and

(b) The Peak Rule are applied. These rules are as follows:

The Early Day Rules

Rule 1: Avoid intercourse on days of heavy bleeding during menstruation.

Rule. 2: Alternate evenings are available for intercourse when these days have been recognized as infertile. (Basic Infertile Pattern)

Rule 3: Avoid intercourse on any day of discharge or bleeding which interrupts the Basic Infertile Pattern. Allow 3 days of Basic Infertile Pattern afterwards before intercourse is resumed on the fourth evening. Rule 2 continues.

The Peak Rule

When the Peak is identified following a change from the BIP, the Peak Rule is applied. From the beginning of the fourth day following the Peak until the end of the cycle intercourse is available every day at any time.

Download Chart with Legend

Download Chart only

For more information on the Billings Method, visit www.woomb.org

 


 

 


Related Topics
Tracking Your Fertility
Teen Pregnancy

Birth Control Methods
Other Pregnancy Topics


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Tracking Your Fertility: The Billings Method


 


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