The Billings Method for Birth Control
The Billing method is a birth control measure, also known as the mucus inspection method. This method got its name after John and Evelyn Billings, who incepted this method in the year 1953 in Australia. The method incorporates the examination of mucus from vagina and cervix. As the hormonal level changes, the mucus too changes during the menstrual cycle.
The woman needs to check her mucus every morning to rule out fertility. If the cervical mucus is clear, profuse and this, this indicates fertility. This happens 4 days prior to ovulation. After periods, when the mucus is absent or in the days when the mucus is very thick as well as sticky, it’s safe to enjoy sex.
To perform the test, using the face tissue, the vaginal area is thoroughly blotted every morning. The mucus is then tested by placing it between the forefinger and the thumb. Post menstrual cycle, the mucus discharge is nil. Following this, the mucus becomes thick, yellow, sticky or white. For one or two days, the woman would notice transparent mucus which is also very slippery (egg white consistency). If the mucus is placed between forefinger and thumb, it will form string. This is the time when ovulation begins.
Post ovulation, the mucus tends to get thick and sticky or it is completely absent. When the mucus becomes yellow or white, thick or sticky, it denotes fertility. This happens for 3 days after the egg white consistency phase of mucus. This is the time when a woman should avoid intercourse. The safe days are from 3 days post the slippery mucus to three days after the period ends.
The symptom- thermal or the muco- thermal method is the combination of the mucus inspection and the temperature method. In this method, the cervical mucus is detected along with observing the basal body temperature. The couples should not have sex for ten to fourteen days during ovulation.
Advantages of NFP (Natural Family Planning) methods
The advantages of NFP are that they are inexpensive and safe. They are acceptable to almost all the religious groups and have no physical side effects. With these measures, the women also get a better understanding about their bodies.
But, the failure rate of NFP is 20%. Women should avoid intercourse until and unless she gains complete knowledge about mucus pattern. It might take a month or so.
The woman should keep the record of her menstrual cycle in order to avoid pregnancy. The women who have irregular menstrual cycle must not adopt NFP.
The woman who have regular cycles and observe the basal body temperature and cervical mucus strictly must not rely on it completely as the factors like illness, certain drugs (antihistamines) and stress tend to delay ovulation. These factors also change the appearance of mucus.
Under vaginal infection or due to semen, the colour as well as consistency of mucus changes and hence, change the interpretation. Also, stress, jet lag and infection also cause fluctuations in body temperature.
The experts advice the beginners to take classes and training in order to understand the natural measures of birth control.