The new Fitbit Versa tracks periods, Natural Cycle is the world’s first digital contraceptive, and more female-focused health tech.
Wellness apps have come a long way, baby.
Remember when Apple HealthKit launched in 2014 claiming to provide “your whole health picture” by measuring heart rate, sleep patterns, blood alcohol level, etc. — but it forgot to include a period and fertility tracker, one of the most basic measures of women’s wellness?
The backlash was swift as users called out the iPhone maker for overlooking the needs of the female half of its customer base, and when iOS 9 rolled out a year later, it updated the HealthKit program to track periods, too.
Many other developers have gotten the message as the mobile health (or mhealth) apps market is poised to hit $111.8 billion by 2025, introducing wearables and apps that follow fertility cycles, schedule doctor’s appointments, fill birth control prescriptions and more. Here’s seven of the best smartwatches and apps for women’s health.
Fitbit is taking on Apple with the Versa, its new smartwatch that’s about half the price ($199.95) of the Apple Watch ($329 to $1,399). And it’s designed with women in mind, adding on female health tracking such as logging menstrual cycles and symptoms, getting period predictions, showing menstrual cycle data alongside your other health data (like sleep and activity) to draw connections, as well as access to a community of other women for support and educational content about family planning and other topics related to women’s health. Available for preorder online, and will be available at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Verizon, and Walmart.
— Bellabeat (@GetBellaBeat) August 7, 2017
This jewelry piece, which can be worn as a necklace or a broach, has fertility and menstrual cycle tracking – the only other smart wearable to track periods – as well as meditation and breathing guides, which can be accessed on the accompanying smartphone app along with the standard step counting, calorie counting and sleep analysis. Available for $119 to $139 at webshop.bellabeat.com.
Having learned from its mistakes, the Apple Health app now lets women input their reproductive health data, such as menstruation cycles, basal body temperature, sexual activity and spotting. The app (which syncs with your Apple Watch and iPhone) also encourages mindfulness with the Breathe app on the Apple Watch, which leads you through deep breathing exercises. There’s also sleep, nutrition and activity tracking. Health also consolidates data from many other third party wellness apps, including MyFitnessPal and Calm, which you can download on your Apple Watch, making it a great overview of your overall health. Free in iOS.
— S0ULA💫 (@eyeamnostalgy) December 13, 2017
Glow and Glow Baby
The original Glow fertility tracking app collects 40 different data points (your period length and flow, your weight, your sleep, your pain and your moods, for starters) to determine when you are most likely to conceive. And it invites you to add in your male partner’s fertility and health data, as well, so that you can both share the experience and identify the best time to try getting pregnant together. It can also remind you when to take your birth control if you’re not ready to be a mom yet. The new Glow Baby app is just as detailed with your little one. It tracks your newborn’s weight and growth, track diaper changes and features a symptom monitor to decipher the texture of your baby’s stools or the color of their bodily fluids to tell if they’re sick. There’s even a breast-feeding timer to record how long your baby feeds on each side, and more. Both are free on iOS and Android.
Glow Baby: New moms- you will seriously love this. The perfect app for tracking your baby. Diaper output, nursing times, bottle oz, sleep and wake. The best part? You can invite another caretaker and they can log too. So you can see what your baby is doing while you’re gone. pic.twitter.com/IwWXobiRrN
— savannah (@trauma_mama_) February 27, 2018
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) have rated this the top menstrual tracking app, and for good reason: It helps women monitor and track their monthly period cycles and all of the emotional and physical symptoms that come along for the ride, including what foods you crave, your stress level and your flow. And it keeps tabs on the duration of your period to accurately predict when Aunt Flow will be visiting next, and you can set alerts to remind you that your period is coming up (time to buy tampons) or if it’s late (time to pick up a pregnancy test). And lets you connect and share cycle info with your friends, if you wish, so you can see when you sync up. Free on iOS and Android.
This digital women’s health clinic can book video chats or phone consults with a broad network of gynecologists, general practitioners, lactation specialists, nurse practitioners, therapists and other vetted specialists so you can get on-demand healthcare anytime, and anywhere. The docs can write prescriptions for birth control, antibiotics for UTIs and yeast infections, travel medications and more, which can be picked up at your local pharmacy. The app is free to download, and appointments start at $18. It also launched a Maven Maternity plan for employers in 2016, which provides parents-to-be with 24/7 on-demand access to doctors, midwives, nurse practitioners, mental health providers and other women’s and children’s health specialists. Appointments run $18 for 10 minutes with a nurse practitioner, or $50 for 40 minutes with a therapist. Sign up online for Maven or read more about Maven Maternity.
"The core of gender equality is to have a better health care system for women…particularly when it comes to working women." – Katherine Ryder, Maven founder & CEO. Big thanks to the @coveteur for doing such a great interview and for shedding light on how we help working moms get the support they desperately need. Link in bio to read the full story!
You don’t want to get pregnant, but you don’t want to take birth control, use condoms or insert a contraceptive device? Now there’s an app for that – in Europe, anyway. Swedish nuclear physicist Elina Berglund created Natural Cycles, the first clinically tested digital alternative to birth control that was approved as a contraceptive in Europe last year. Women take their temperature using a basal thermometer under their tongues every morning, enter that data into the app, and an algorithm uses that and other factors like sperm survival, temperature fluctuations, past cycles and cycle irregularities – to determine whether you are fertile that day or not. It has more than 150,000 users in 161 countries, and a clinical study claims it is 93% effective for contraception. But remember: It does not protect against STIs. Learn more here.
— Natural Cycles (@NaturalCycles) September 26, 2017
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