Did you know that at least three African tribal groups (the Taita, Kamba and Luo) have used the cervical04 mucus as a marker of fertility for generations? And according to an elder of an Australian Aboriginal tribe, Niranji, young girls of his tribe are taken away to a sacred place by the older women and taught about the mucus.
Most women, upon learning about the secret of the mucus, suddenly experience a “light bulb turning on in the head” when they realize that the mucus that comes from their vagina sometimes is a message from inside the body.
What kinds of mucus are there?
Women who have been observant (especially those who do not use panty lines) will notice that sometimes the mucus is sticky (like the 40-cent gum paste that you get from the plastic containers at stationery shops, you know, the kind with a small plastic spread on top?). At other times, the mucus is slippery and resembles raw egg-white.
To give another example for the sake of men reading this (since most of us have no idea what the mucus is like), the sticky mucus is like boogers that come in white lumps. The slippery mucus is the kind that you find dripping from your nose when you have a cold.
These different types of mucus, which originate from the cervix, are telling us when the woman is infertile or fertile. There are more kinds within each of these two types, but these are basically the two main types.
How do the different types of mucus work?
The sticky mucus is secreted by the cervix at the infertile phases of the woman’s menstrual cycle. This sticky mucus acts as a plug to block the cervix from sperm entry. When sperm enter the vagina, the sperm are unable to get through the plug and quickly die in the acidic environment of the vagina, often within 1-2 hours.
When the woman’s cervix secretes slippery mucus, the composition of the mucus changes such that it actually creates tracks for the sperm to travel up to the Fallopian tubes to meet the egg. This mucus which is present outside the vagina is the reason why a woman can get pregnant even without penetration. Sperm cells in the semen that fall outside the vagina can travel into the vagina by the use of these tracks provided. These sperm cells can also travel through clothes.
Not only that, since a woman’s egg is released only on one day in her cycle (called ‘ovalution’), and the egg lives for only 12 hours, the sperm can live in the fertile mucus for 3-5 days as the mucus also nourishes the sperm. The mucus has the added function of filtering out immature sperm and defective sperm.
The presence of this kind of mucus is the most important sign to know whether a woman is fertile or not, for without the presence of this mucus, the sperm cannot survive inside the vagina, and cannot swim up to the egg.
Once a woman has ovulated, and the egg is not fertilized, it dies, and the uterine lining which was built up to prepare the womb for implantation of the fertilized egg, breaks down and is washed out 11-16 days later. This is called menstruation.
In the days between ovulation and menstruation, the woman’s mucus becomes the sticky kind again.
What does all this mean?
This simply means that the mucus can tell us whether sexual intercourse will result in pregnancy or not. This means that couples do not need to use a condom every time that they have intercourse and go through the associated problems such as worries whether the condom will tear or slip, and the reduced sexual pleasure that intercourse with a condom brings.
This also means that a woman on the Pill is taking the drug everyday and suffering its related side effects and health risks unnecessarily. Unnecessary because there is a perfectly safe and healthy method available which has been scientifically proven to be just as effective as the Pill.
So what’s new?
Well, for those that confuse this method (known as the Billings Ovulation Method) with the Rhythm Method, this is new. The Rhythm Method assumes that each woman’s menstrual cycle is the same each time (which is not always the case) and it predicts fertility based on past menstrual cycles. The Billings Method (also called NFP) predicts fertility based on the signs of the mucus in each cycle.
A further advantage for users of the Billings Method is that we know when a woman is fertile and when she isn’t fertile. Contraceptives don’t do that, and contracepting couples probably assume that the woman is fertile all the time – hence the use of contraception at each act of sexual intercourse. I mean, if you are not assuming that the woman is fertile all the time, why use contraceptives all the time, right?
The Billings Method is a modern scientific method with more than 99 percent effective rate. This means that out of 100 couples who follow the guidelines of the method, one or less couple will get pregnant. Actual trials which yield results of about 80 percent are caused by couples who break the guidelines knowingly for one reason or another, such as the desire to have a child.
What’s also new is the knowledge that the Billings Method has no side effects because the natural body processes are not disturbed. This can be an awakening for women who have been using contraceptive medications which alter normal hormone patterns and which can cause irritability, depression, nausea, loss of libido, and sometimes more serious pathological disorders.
It is effective and has obvious health and social benefits. It is a real solution to the problem of population control, needing no expensive technology, and requiring only normal medical care to deal with abnormalities.
The Billings Method, although discovered by a Catholic and approved by the Catholic Church, is not for Catholics only. It is used by peoples from all or no religions, especially by those who prefer healthy, natural alternatives to artificial contraception. It is the only natural family planning method used as an acceptable option within China’s State (national) Family Planning Program.
An added bonus for couples who adopt the Billings Method find that cooperation with the gentle discipline strengthens their bond because successful use calls for partners to act in accordance with the signals of fertility and infertility. This means you will need to show your love in ways other than intercourse sometimes.
This also means that couples who use NFP generally communicate better than couples who use contraceptives, and we know that communication is the number one reason why couples stay together or break up. Proof of this is seen when we view the divorce rate in U.S. couples, which currently stands at 1 in 2 couples, and the divorce rate of NFP couples (including non-Catholics) which currently stands at 1 in 500.
As for me, I’m currently learning the Billings Method while attending NFP classes with Nutella. I’m also reading “The Billings Method” written by Dr Evelyn Billings and Ann Westmore, from which most of the information in this article is taken.
What I’ve found through the process of learning this method is the sense of wonder that comes from observing how the natural rhythms of the woman’s body. It’s absolutely fascinating how it works, and terribly intriguing to the scientist in me.
Not only is learning the secret of the mucus important to tell the fertility of a woman at any given period (pun not intended) of time, it is also good to know for the sake of a woman’s reproductive health as changes in the mucus are indicative of any abnormalities. This reason alone is sufficient for any woman to learn the Billings Method, regardless of sexual activity.
For men, it is encouraged for you to learn this method with your girlfriend, fiancee, or wife, and to chart the cycle with your loved one. There are a number of reasons for this, but I’ll just mentioned three. One reason is so that you are aware of the changes going through your loved one’s body, and this helps you to predict the moods that she will have, so you can be nicer to her on certain days. A second reason is so that the burden of birth control is shared equally by the two of you, as it should be. And third, it is a sign of love not to make your loved one consume drugs that have significant health risks.
The Billings Method is for everyone to learn from, and use. This is one clear example of how a victory for the Church equals a victory for the world, because everyone who uses this method, regardless of religion, benefits from it.