How To Use the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM)

Learning About Your Fertility

Fertility period

Every woman has a right to knowledge and understanding of her fertility and reproductive health. If you want to practice natural fertility regulation, the Billings Ovulation Method (BOM) offers the following advantages:

  • BOM does not involve temperature taking, drugs or devices, or the counting of days as in a rhythm method.
  • Couples share the responsibility for planning their family, thereby enhancing their relationship.
  • BOM frees the woman from the use of chemical contraceptives and thus relieves concern about the effects on health.
  • BOM is applicable from puberty to menopause. It can be used in times of breastfeeding, after ceasing hormonal medication and approaching menopause. It can be used to achieve or avoid pregnancy. Cycles do not have to be regular.
  • BOM should be the first resort for couples who wish achieve a pregnancy when their fertility is being questioned.
  1. Contact an accredited teacher. The best way to learn the BOM is under the guidance of an accredited teacher. You can easily find out if there is a teacher in your area and arrange for consultation. Otherwise you can get the services of an accredited teacher through the internet. There is a modest fee for the teaching services.
  2. Learn about your fertility. No matter how old you are, it is of enormous benefit to take the time to understand your fertility. Any woman who has not reached menopause can learn about her fertility. A good time to learn about your fertility is when you have first reached sexual maturity (mid teens or later) and before you become sexually active. Every mother should encourage her daughters to learn about their natural symptoms of fertility.
  3. Practice observing your fertility symptoms. A woman's fertility is controlled by naturally occurring hormones. These hormones primarily affect the ovaries and the cervix. The ovary is where the ovum develops until ovulation. The cervix produces mucus that is essential to keep sperm alive and assist them on the journey towards the ovary, thereby enabling conception at the time of ovulation. The most important naturally observable fertility symptom is the sensation caused by the cervical mucus at the vulva. The woman will also see the mucus as she attends to her personal hygiene.
  4. Observe your fertility symptoms daily. In order to practice the BOM you need to know about your potential fertility on a daily basis. Cervical mucus is felt by a woman at the vulva as she goes about her daily activities. Sometimes it is also visible. By noting these symptoms during each day a woman has all the information that is needed for natural fertility regulation.
  5. Record your fertility symptoms. There is a standard charting system that has been developed for the BOM. Take a few moments at the end of each day to record your symptoms for that day. Your teacher will assist you to recognize your patterns of potential fertility and infertility. You will recognize your Basic Infertile Pattern by recording your symptoms in this way.
  6. Learn the rules of the BOM. There are four simple rules of the Billings Ovulation Method which are applied whether the couple wishes to achieve or avoid pregnancy. Three rules apply to the time in the cycle before ovulation, until the Peak of fertility is recognized, which identifies the time of ovulation. The fourth rule (the Peak Rule) applies once the Peak has been recognized.
  7. Be willing to abstain from sexual intimacy in order to avoid conception. Think about the times of abstinence that occur anyway, such as abstinence in times of ill health or temporary separation due to work or family commitments. Abstinence from many things is a part of life, which we embrace if we believe it is for good reason. Couples speak of the gentle discipline of the BOM as beneficial to their relationship.
  8. Know the effects of contraceptive medication. The use of the BOM is not compatible with hormonal forms of contraception, either during the learning period or for fertility regulation purposes. Hormonal medication such as that contained in the Pill and fertility control implants overrides the normal cyclic pattern of hormones and interferes with the functioning of the cervix, thus distorting the natural symptoms of fertility. It may take some time after ceasing this type of medication for the natural symptoms of fertility to recover.
  9. Know the effects of barrier contraception. The use of the BOM is not compatible with barrier forms of contraception, either during the learning period or for fertility regulation purposes. Sexual stimulation without intercourse will produce a fluid discharge. The discharge is increased as a result of intercourse with a condom, and will be mixed with seminal fluid when there is use of an IUD or diaphragm or when withdrawal is practised - all producing a confused pattern.
  10. Increase your knowledge. Visit the website of WOOMB International for a range of authoritative information on fertility, the BOM and how to access accredited teaching services.


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