Family planning is an important consideration if you’re a sexually active woman. It puts you in control over your reproductive health and gives you the power to decide if and when you want to get pregnant.
These days, you have a lot of options when it comes to family planning. From hormonal birth control and barrier methods to natural family planning, you can choose the best option for your body and your goals.
At OB/GYN Specialists, Daniel McDonald, MD, Marc Wilson, MD, and our team are here to help you find the right family planning method for you. We specialize in natural family planning and offer expert guidance on the most popular methods, including the Billings method.
How the Billings method works
The Billings method has been around since the 1950s, and it was developed by Dr. John and Evelyn Billings. It’s also called the cervical mucus method and the ovulation method.
Your cervical mucus, or vaginal discharge, changes over the course of your menstrual cycle. The Billings method involves observing and tracking changes in your cervical mucus, and using this information to pinpoint ovulation. Ovulation is the time in your menstrual cycle when you’re most likely to get pregnant.
If you’re trying to conceive
Right before ovulation, your cervical mucus changes consistency. It becomes thicker and slipperier to help transport sperm through your cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg.
Pay attention to mucus secretions in your vulva and when you urinate throughout the month. If it’s clear, milky white, slippery and stretchy, you’re likely within a few days of ovulation. Having unprotected sex during this time increases your chances of getting pregnant.
If you want to avoid pregnancy
If you don’t want to conceive right now, you should avoid unprotected sex when you’re ovulating. Abstain from sex or use barrier methods when your cervical mucus is thick and slippery.
The ovulation period lasts about 24 hours. Continue observing your cervical mucus, and in the days following ovulation, your vaginal secretions get drier or disappear. After your menstrual period, you continue to have scant, sticky, or nonexistent mucus discharge until the cycle starts again with the next ovulation.
Pay attention to your cervical mucus for a few months to learn what’s normal for your body. In general, it’s safer to have unprotected sex when mucus is dry because it means you’re less fertile during these times.
Is the Billings method right for you?
Unlike hormonal birth control, the Billings method and other types of natural family planning are helpful whether you’re trying to get pregnant or trying to avoid it.
Many women choose natural family planning because it helps them connect with their bodies. It’s a reliable method of family planning that doesn’t involve devices or hormones, but it’s important to remember that there’s no way to completely prevent pregnancy as long as you’re sexually active.
The Billings method is particularly helpful if you’re trying to get pregnant, because it involves identifying the time of the month when you’re most likely to conceive. On average, 2 out of 3 women who use the Billings method to conceive get pregnant successfully.
If you’re using the Billings method as your main form of birth control to prevent pregnancy, it’s very important to do it correctly and consistently. Natural family planning methods like the Billings method are about 90% effective when done right.
Since the Billings method is drug-free, it can be combined with other natural family planning methods like the Marquette method and the sympto-thermal method. Talk to Dr. McDonald and Dr. Wilson about all of your options to help you decide what’s right for your body.
Are you curious about how the Billings method could work for you? Contact our Denton, Texas, office at 940-202-0566 or send us a message online now.