Billings Method

Developing Countries
People with the Most Urgent Need

The Billings Method has been able to provide a solution to the problems concerned with the regulation of fertility amongst those people who have the greatest and most urgent need. It has been particularly useful in prolonging the interval between pregnancies so that the child is established by adequate breast-feeding continued after the mother’s return to fertility.

Illiteracy and Poverty

In some of the developing countries there still exist areas where the people are illiterate and live in poverty. Despite this the husbands and wives are able to understand and to apply the Billings Method successfully, using it to assist them to bear children or to postpone pregnancy, according to their own responsible decision. There have been many prospective trials carried out amongst people of different culture, living in different socio-economic conditions, showing a method-effectiveness better than 99%; there is no contraceptive or sterilizing technique which can produce better results.

Sexual Discipline

In many cultures which people in Western society might classify as "primitive", the sexual discipline required for the successful application of natural family planning is not a obstacle, nor even a great difficulty. Indeed, in many instances, periodic abstinence is part of the traditional culture. Childlessness amongst these people causes distress and even shame; the Billings Method is especially acceptable because it can assist such a high proportion of these childless couples to have children of their own.


Respect for individual dignity and for the established customs in different societies calls for the training of teachers from within the local community, as these teachers will understand the most appropriate way to present the factual knowledge.

In El Salvador, Central America, Rev. Dr. W. Gibbons MD and his colleagues have used a simple explanation of the Billings Method which has proved extremely successful. When the ground is dry, it is explained, the seed will not germinate, but when the rains come one can prepare for a harvest. So it is with a woman that when she is wet with the mucus, she may prepare for a harvest of a baby.

Typical record of a Papua New Guinea woman recorded using stamps. Note the short menstrual flow and the short mucus symptom.
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Poverty and Fertility Symptoms

The chart above is a typical example of a menstrual cycle of a fertile native woman living in a rural area of Papua New Guinea. These native women are usually able to be taught the method within a few minutes, and in most cases apply the method successfully without any charting at all. It has been noted in Papua New Guinea, in Latin America, and amongst some other groups of women living in poverty, that, although they are capable of bearing many children, and frequently have repeated pregnancies, the mucus pattern may occupy very few days in the cycle. Despite the fact that there are usually only 2 or 3 days of mucus, during which the mucus has fertile characteristics, acts of intercourse on the day before the development of the mucus do not result in pregnancy. The application of the rules in very simple. Abstinence from genital contact is observed on days of "wetness", which would include days on which presence of seminal fluid and the other secretions associated with sexual intercourse might cause confusion. All dry days are able to be used up to the beginning of this short fertile phase, and all days from the fourth day after it has stopped.

International Symbols

The stamp records are particularly valuable because they provide a large amount of information which can be taken in at a glance, embodying perhaps the observations made over several months. The colours and baby figures convey the essential details across barriers of language, and provide for comprehension even by the illiterate. It is obvious that there may be circumstances which make it impossible to use the stamp system of making a record, even such that symbols (see below) must be substituted for colours. One should, however, guard against the danger of the use of a complicated series of symbols, which may introduce a new source of error.

The same record as above reproduced using the international symbols for the Billings Ovulation Method.
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How can you learn about this method?

Accredited Billings teachers help individual couples manage their fertility naturally. Contact a teaching Centre in your area, or direct your inquiry to our online address (see billingsMentor for other addresses).

Billings Method

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