In continuation of our Natural Family Planning: How to Get Started Series we will take the next several weeks to learn more about the most commonly used, modern, NFP methods. This week we are happy to welcome LTS member and BOM Instructor, Shawna Van Uden to give us a review of the Billings Ovulation Method! Thank you so much Shawna!
The Billings Ovulation Method™ (BOM) is taught in 150 countries and used by millions of women around the world. It was developed by Drs John and Evelyn Billings, validated by international scientists and successfully trialed by the World Health Organization. By learning to identify the natural signals of fertility, a woman can use the BOM to become pregnant or avoid pregnancy and to safeguard her reproductive health.
Cervical mucus is observed by paying attention to the sensation at the vulva while going about normal daily activities. There is no need to alter the daily routine or change any habits in the bathroom. There is also no need to touch the mucus or the inside of the vagina.
At the end of the day, the woman uses one or two of her own words to chart the most fertile sensation of the day and to describe anything she happened to see. Colored stamps are used on the chart to classify the observation as fertile or infertile. An instructor works closely with her to identify her own unique patterns of fertility and infertility.
Basic BOM Instructors are trained to deal with special circumstances; such as breastfeeding, peri-menopause, PCOS, discontinuing hormonal contraceptives, continuous mucus, etc . Instructors are strongly encouraged to consult with their supervisors with any questions or uncertainties. Clients can also be referred to an Advanced Instructor if needed. Medical assistance is also encouraged when appropriate.
Instruction in the BOM includes method training and personalized follow up. First, clients attend an Initial Instruction session. This may be done privately with the instructor or in a class setting. The science and guidelines of the method are explained in full at this presentation. Clients can then begin their first chart and enter the follow up phase. Follow ups with the Instructor are private and confidential. They are done every 2 – 4 weeks, as needed, until the client is confident in the method. The time it takes to become confident varies from couple to couple and their circumstances. A minimum of 5 follow ups is ideal. This format for learning the BOM is usually the same whether the instruction is provided face to face, by phone, or online. Follow up is the most critical component of BOM instruction.
The philosophy of the BOM is that every woman is entitled to the knowledge of her fertility. No woman is denied instruction if she cannot afford the fees. Each BOM office sets its own Fee for Service, usually between $50 – $150. This includes a donation to the local association, the cost of materials, and a small fee to compensate the instructor for his/her time. The Fee for Services is a onetime donation and covers all the support a client needs in her reproductive lifetime. Even if she switches BOM instructors, she will not be asked to pay the fee again.
The BOM keeps things very simple, even when cycles are complicated. There are only 4 rules to remember for avoiding pregnancy, which can be applied in any situation. It also has guidelines for anyone with what may seem like continuous mucus, to tell the difference between infertile discharge and truly fertile mucus. The BOM focuses on determining whether each day is fertile or infertile, so it does not matter how early or late ovulation may occur. Each day’s fertility or infertility is determined daily, as it happens.
Over 50 years of research has verified the BOM’s high effectiveness for avoiding pregnancy (99.6%). Even the government of China includes the BOM as an approved form of birth control; in keeping with their one child policy.
Online Charting – www.nfpcharting.com, approved by WOOMB International. There are a few other charting apps and websites that claim to be compatible with the BOM, but so far only nfpcharting.com is officially approved. This site also has a list of affiliated BOM Instructors.
Online Instruction available at www.learnnfponline.com
International Website: www.thebillingsovulationmethod.org
Woomb Canada: www.woomb.ca
Many BOM Instructors are also willing to provide training online, via Skype or email.
The Billings Method: Using the Body’s Natural Signal of Fertility to Achieve or Avoid Pregnancy by Dr. Evelyn Billings and Ann Westmore
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