The Billings Method
Trying to have a baby?
Not wanting a baby just now?
The answer may be simpler than you think
When the first edition of the international bestseller The Billings Method was published 30 years ago, women were seeking a natural alternative to the Pill - to avoid pregnancy.
Now achieving pregnancy is the challenge, with women delaying having children till their 30s and beyond. From contraception to conception - women's needs have changed, marking an enormous social shift. In 2011 the new edition of The Billings Method will not only help couples to avoid pregnancy and monitor reproductive health but will teach women how to achieve pregnancy without medical intervention.
The overwhelming majority of clients at the Billings clinics today are seeking help with getting pregnant.
The Billings Centres achieve remarkable success in this troubled area - with almost 80% of couples becoming pregnant when armed with the simple knowledge of when precisely is the best time to try to conceive.
Surprisingly only 18% of these couples were aware of this.
A 4-year study of 384 women attending Billings clinics around Australia revealed that the average time trying to conceive before coming to their clinics was 15 months. Within one month of instruction in the Method, 30% had achieved pregnancy; within three months, 54% were pregnant.
7 of the 20 couples who were previously unsuccessful on expensive, stressful and invasive procedures such as IVF, achieved successful pregnancies using the Billings Method.
'As women proceed through their 30s, their fertility naturally declines. They may ovulate infrequently. In some couples, the presence of mucus capable of sustaining sperm occurs in only a few cycles each year, and perhaps for half a day only in each cycle. It is vitally important for a woman to recognise this signal of fertility to make the most of her chances of conceiving.' Dr Ann Westmore
More and more Australian women think reproductive technologies including IVF are the only way to conceive. In some cases this is so. What the Billings Method offers is a simple, non-invasive, highly effective path to pregnancy for those many women for whom no obvious cause of infertility can be found.
'This is knowledge of her body that every woman ought to have.' Dr Evelyn BillingsDr Ann Westmore
received her scientific training at the University of Melbourne, specialising in physiology and histology. She is an award-winning medical and science writer. Dr Westmore has written widely on issues of contraception, family planning and HRT. She co-authored with Professor Carl Wood, one of the first books published on IVF. Marie Marshell
has taught the Billings Method for 35 years. She has travelled widely internationally training teachers of the Method. In recent years she has specialised in helping couples achieve pregnancy. Marie Marshell ran a 4-year study involving 17 Billings clinics, which achieved 78 per cent success with women who had been trying to become pregnant for an average of 15 months.
The Billing Method: Using the body's natural signal of fertility to achieve or avoid pregnancy
Authors: Dr Ann Westmore and Marie Marshell
Interview with Dr. Ann WestmoreQuestion:
What is The Billings Method?Dr. Ann Westmore
: The Billings Method is a way to limit, space or achieve a pregnancy that relies on a woman's recognition of her own state of fertility. By becoming aware of the sensations and appearance of the mucus produced by the cervix, which is apparent at the opening of the vagina, a woman can avoid or achieve a pregnancy.Question:
What inspired you to write this book?Dr. Ann Westmore
: Before being invited to write the book with Dr Evelyn Billings some 30 years ago, I had recently had my first (and as it turned out my only) child and I was interested in the possibility of controlling my fertility without using drugs or devices. Even though I was a medical writer of some experience I was unaware that I could identify when I was most and least fertile during a menstrual cycle using my observations of the appearance and sensation of the cervical mucus. As I wrote the book with Dr Billings I learned how to identify the signs of fertility and infertility and became convinced that this was information that all women should have.Question:
How will this book help women having infertility problems?Dr. Ann Westmore
: Women with common infertility problems can use the book to identify if and when they are fertile and can conceive a child. In some women suitable conditions for achieving a pregnancy occur in only a few cycles a year and perhaps for only a few hours in each of those cycles. An Australian study of 384 women trying to conceive found that learning to identify when they were most fertile strongly predicted successful conception. Three-quarters of the women achieved a pregnancy within five months of learning to identify their mucus signs of fertility.Question:
How has the importance of The Billings Method changed over the years? Dr. Ann Westmore
: The Billings Method can be used to avoid or achieve pregnancies. When the first edition of The Billings Method was published in the early 1980s, many women were seeking alternatives to contraceptive methods such as the Pill, IUDs (intra-uterine devices) and the diaphragm. Now, because many women have delayed having children until their thirties or forties, and sometimes until their fertility is waning, they want to become pregnant and they don't necessarily have many years to do so. In other words the emerging challenge for many women and their partners is conception rather than contraception, a major change in the space of a generation.
Interview by Brooke HunterBuy it now at