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Seminar for doctors on Billings Ovulation Method

“The one event in a cycle with a very precise time frame is ovulation,”  said Dr Joseph Ryan, Senior Teacher with the Billings Ovulation Method Association Trinidad and Tobago (BOMA-TT), while speaking to doctors from the private and public sectors attending the seminar ‘Menarche to Menopause: Health Advantages of Monitoring Fertility’ June 22 at the Kapok Hotel.

The seminar aimed to provide participants with information on the Billings Ovulation Method® (BOM) so they can advise women and couples about using this natural method for family planning. Women who recognise the signs of fertility and infertility can monitor their reproductive cycles.

At the seminar, talks were given by BOMA-TT Senior Teachers, a married couple, Joan and Joseph Ryan, on the variations in the reproductive cycle. BOMA-TT Coordinator,  Pauline Phelps presented a history of BOM and the scientific studies that contributed to its development. Her husband Dr Brian Phelps spoke on the correlation of the signs and symptoms of fertility with hormone changes, precisely when an egg is released (ovulation) and gave a demonstration of how the BOM is used to chart a woman’s cycle.

Professor Emeritus Dr James B Brown made a significant contribution to the understanding of the ovarian and pituitary hormones. Dr Ryan said, “One of the main things he did was identify the variants of ovarian activity that can occur in a woman throughout her reproductive life.”

Dr Brown examined menarche, stress, infertility, postpartum breastfeeding, and menopause. Dr Ryan said he found that ovarian activity was a continuum. It is defined as, “the unbroken course of events of ovarian activity between menarche and menopause…between menarche and menopause, a woman will experience all or some of these variants over her reproductive life.”

Dr Ryan discussed the hormonal influences (Follicle Stimulating Hormone or FSH, Luteinising hormone, estradiol, progesterone) during the ovarian cycle. He said, “About 11 to 16 days after ovulation, if there is no fertilisation, then menstruation occurs because the egg will atresia and the endometrium will break down, and this is what passes out as menstruation… As one phase ends, another begins.”

Women experience fertile and infertile cycles during their reproductive life. The Ryans outlined the variants. In the short cycle, there can be full ovulation cycles in 19 days, during which a woman can be fertile, even during menstruation. “When people say you can’t get pregnant during menstruation, that is a fallacy…In our experience teaching Billings for all these years, I remember one case in which that had happened,” Joan Ryan said.

Another variant is delayed ovulation because FSH remains low for an extended period. “Eventually, the FSH levels will reach the threshold, and she will enter the fertile stage. When she does that, the fertile stage of her cycle will last approximately the same time,” Dr Ryan said.

He added, “That pre-ovulatory phase just extends, it could be quite long, it could be months if a woman is experiencing stress, it (this) happens at breastfeeding (also).” Anovulatory bleeding, ruptured follicles, deficient luteal phases (infertile cycles) were other variants discussed.

An example of how stress can impact a woman’s cycle was given with reference to a study of women rowers at Harvard University. It found the intensity of training was a stress factor affecting ovulation and “within months, all returned to fully fertile ovulatory cycles when the intensive training stopped,” Ryan (Joan) said.

While 28 days is the typical ovulatory cycle, she underscored, “Cycle variants, they are not abnormal. They are normal responses to the environment to ensure that pregnancy does not occur under unfavourable conditions to either mother or foetus”.

A token of appreciation was presented to Dr Richard Clerk, who brought the Method to Trinidad and Tobago in 1980 after being asked by Archbishop Anthony Pantin CSSp to visit Australia to find out about it.

After the presentation, participants worked on a case study and were shown examples of Billings charts for women at different stages of reproductive life. They were invited to complete the BOMA-TT Teacher Training Programme and/or US physician training in Restorative Reproductive Medicine. —LPG


BOMA-TT Phone or WhatsApp:


Email: naturalfertility@catholictt.org

or billingstt@gmail.com

Local Website: billingstt.com

International Websites: woombinternational.org or billings.life