Home Prevention Billings method (cervical mucus method): This is how it works

Billings method (cervical mucus method): This is how it works

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 405 views

The Billings method (cervical mucus method) is a form of natural family planning. It is named after the medical couple Billings. It recognized that the cervical mucus at the cervix changes depending on the woman’s hormonal cycle. By observing the mucus, the time of ovulation and thus the fertile days can be estimated. Learn more about the Billings method here.

How does the Billings method work?

With the Billings method (cervical mucus method), you check the consistency of the mucus secreted by the lining glands of the cervix every day. You take some cervical mucus from the entrance to the vagina or cervix, rub it between your thumb and forefinger and test how easy it is to spin by pulling the two fingers apart. Depending on the consistency of the mucus (liquid, viscous or stringy), you are currently in the fertile or infertile phase:  

During the infertile phase of your cycle, after menstruation, the mucus is clumpy and viscous, forming a plug in the cervix that prevents sperm from entering the uterus. The vagina feels dry during this time.

The hormone changes as the cycle progresses also have an effect on mucus production: a few days before ovulation, the mucus becomes milky and cloudy and feels sticky and viscous. The closer you get to ovulation, the more fluid and clear your cervical mucus becomes, and the fertile days have begun. In the most fertile phase of the cycle, the mucus is “spinnable,” meaning you can pull a thread between your fingers with the mucus. The vaginal entrance is wet during this time. A few days after ovulation, the mucus quickly becomes thick and cloudy again.

The Billings method of family planning

In order to use the Billings method of birth control, you must record the amount, consistency, color, and spinnability of cervical mucus on a daily basis. If the amount of mucus doubles or triples on consecutive days, you can expect to ovulate within the next two to three days.

It is also important for the documentation that you precisely document illnesses, the intake of medication, sexual intercourse and any increased discharge. If you suffer from inflammation in the vaginal area, the Billings method cannot be used.

Pearl index of the Billings method

Contraception using the Billings method is not particularly safe. If 100 women use this method for a year, 3 to 23 of them will still get pregnant – so the Pearl Index of the Billings method is very high. If you want to increase the security of contraception, you should combine the Billings method with the calendar and temperature method (symptothermal method).

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