We have received many responses to our latest article asking about the accuracy of a 6-8 day fertile phase. The questions deserved a thorough response, so a follow up article was in order.
As a Billings Ovulation Method™ Instructor, I believe that the Billings Method is the most accurate, most researched, and the best method of NFP available. Every NFP teacher (of any method) should be able to tell you that their method is the best and be able to explain why. If they cannot, they shouldn’t be teaching it. That being said, when we first started charting, we used a different method. On the advice of our NFP instructor, we decided to switch to the Billings Ovulation Method™.
We found in Billings what my husband calls the “NFP trifecta.” It ranks highest in three categories that were of utmost importance to him:
- Studies show the “actual use efficacy” of the Billings Ovulation Method™ is 99.5%, higher than any other method.
- With only 4 rules, and no devices or burdensome rituals, Billings is the simplest method.
- Because Billings’ science recognizes the individuality of each woman, it offers the most available days for intimacy of any NFP method.
Billings differs from other methods of NFP, in that the method never identifies “fertile type mucus.” Rather, the method pinpoints patterns of infertile discharge for each individual woman. Every woman is unique, and signs of fertility can differ significantly from woman to woman. The nearly one million biological tests done by The Billings Ovulation Method™ have taught us that fertility can still be determined with accuracy without assuming that every woman must experience the exact same things. This research, and the way Billings’ determines potential fertility, opens up more days for intimacy in the follicular phase than other methods.
Furthermore, Billings’ extensive research makes a woman’s chart a diagnostic tool, useful beyond simply determining daily fertility. Hormonal imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, insulin resistance, and early signs of reproductive cancers can all be detected on a Billings Ovulation Method™ chart.
With this foundation, let’s address the 6-8 day period of abstinence referenced is our previous article. Recent research suggests that the final process which develops a follicle to maturation immediately preceding ovulation should only take up to five days. In a cycle displaying fertility longer than five days, something is delaying follicular maturation. Dr. Mary Martin, founder of the Billings Center for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, says, “There [is always] a reason why women don’t ovulate normally, have intermenstrual bleeding, have pain or infertility.” A competent, trained Billings Method instructor should be able to help a woman either identify the underlying reasons or to provide a starting point for the woman to discuss with her physician. Some underlying issues can be fixed easily by correctly identifying infertile mucus, starting certain vitamin regimens, and changing habits. However, if a client has a chart that is indecipherable, a teacher should never wait longer than 3 cycles before referring them to a medical professional that can help them identify and treat the reasons for the hormonal imbalance. An NFP teacher should never leave a woman uncertain for months or years a time.
While delayed follicular maturation is not the end of the world, we should always be working to help our clients obtain optimum reproductive (and marital) health. It is also possible that what may simply look like delayed follicular maturation, is in actuality a sign of something more serious. Billings alone has the research behind it that can help a woman identify these issues.
6 to 8 days of potential fertility may seem, based on your experience, to be a pipe dream — but while every woman is different, and while charts can differ from month to month, The Billings Ovulation Method™, taught by competent, certified teacher, will help you identify your true fertile phase. If you periodically have longer fertile phases, don’t worry about it too much. But If you consistently have fertile phases longer than this to the point that it has become burdensome, you should know that you have options. It may take a little time, but a good teacher can help you regulate your cycle so that you can enjoy NFP without unnecessary abstinence.