Women’s health is an area of health tech that app and gadget makers are finally beginning to realise is a lucrative area, with a range of products out there, we’ve rounded up five of the best ones.
If ever there was an outlet for amassing huge amounts of human biological data, it’s through the growing number of health gadgets and apps for women, although it’s only in the last couple of years that women’s health seems to have become an are of focus for app makers.
Just taking one example, the Apple Health app was heralded by the company as something that would revolutionise health monitoring by using its devices like the iPhone and Apple Watch to monitor every facet of a person’s vitals.
Or, as it turns out, not all of them, despite Apple’s software engineer, Craig Federighi, saying at the time that it would “monitor all of your metrics that you’re most interested in.”
For one thing, Apple Health remains a health monitoring app that has no means of recording information about menstruation, something which more than half the planet experiences for a considerable chunk of their lives.
These types of oversight have led to a whole range of “period trackers” coming to the market, although implying that all they do is track your period is somewhat underselling what some of them are capable of.
Starting with what is considered the best product of the bunch, at least within the towers of Siliconrepublic.com, Clue using data analytics to tell you lots about your menstrual cycle and body.
The app is a data-logger for your menstrual cycle, storing as much detail as you like and offering up helpful reminders like when your period is due, when your fertility is at its peak, and when a good time in your cycle for a breast exam is.
Shedding pink and flowery imagery for a look that’s ‘beautifully scientific’, Clue is carefully designed so that its millions of users worldwide are happy to keep returning and inputting data.
This data is as varied as the individual’s cycle. You can tell Clue about the fundamentals – when your period starts and ends – but you can also track sexual activity, moods, changes to hair or skin condition, and lots more.
With the app, you decide what you want to track and you can also opt to share that data (anonymised, of course) with clinical researchers studying women’s health.
Clue is also educational and provides clear and understandable information on all aspects of reproductive health.
Our managing editor, Elaine Burke, is one of those users who is a particularly big fan. “I just wanted a rudimentary tracker to let me know when my cycle was going to kick off, and what I now have is an app that offers a wealth of information about my body and health through my own logged data – it’s empowering.”
ClearBlue First Response Pregnancy Pro
Of course, the reason some people want to track their menstrual cycle is because they are trying to get pregnant.
The First Response Pregnancy Pro from ClearBlue – launched at CES this month – is an app and Bluetooth-enabled monitoring device that you start with by stating whether you want to get pregnant, or if you would rather use it as a period tracker.
But if you’ve decided to go with the former, the Bluetooth device will be used in an almost identical fashion to traditional pregnancy kits in that it can then detect whether all the signs are there that you’re pregnant.
The difference, however, is that the app has some interesting little additions, like turning itself into a Siri-like personal assistant that can calm you with pictures of puppies (yes, really) or educate you on the science behind what it is doing.
If a positive pregnancy is achieved, it then assists you in telling you your next steps, i.e., consulting with a doctor.
Of course, it’s going to be a little more expensive than the standard kit, but it’s still $14.99 online, which is not a bad deal, really.
Pregnancy to Parenting
On a similar vein, if you’re beyond tracking periods and into baby-making territory, you’ll have different medical information you may want to track. For this, Lamaze International has developed the Pregnancy to Parenting app, which is free from both Google Play and the App Store.
Using this app, you can track health information throughout your pregnancy, which can be useful to share with your doctor – whose appointments can be stored in the app too.
When it comes to those last days of pregnancy, a contraction tracker can help you determine the onset of labour, while a breastfeeding tracker can help you keep tabs on nursing after baby arrives.
Speaking of pregnancy: there’s an app for that. Ovia Fertility comes from Ovuline, a mostly-female Boston-based team that includes a genetics and reproductive health expert and a data scientist.
Built by scientists and doctors, Ovia uses an ovulation prediction algorithm to analyse the user’s data and alert them to the best time to conceive.
The app tracks your menstrual cycle, of course, but the focus is squarely on the goal of conceiving, providing users with a fertility cycle and fertility score. To do this, Ovia logs your basal body temperature, cervical fluid, mood and any ovulation tests you’ve taken.
Eve – Glow
Again, while all of the apps shown here have some means of tracking fertility, the Eve app released by Glow is one of the leading apps that focuses on baby making, or not, if that’s not what you’re looking for.
The Eve app acts as a tracker of your recent sexual experiences and, like a visual, colourful questionnaire, will ask for the basic details of what happened, such as whether protection was used and even whether it was an enjoyable experience or not.
Further questions then go on to offer a very basic idea of whether you’re pregnant by asking whether you have any of the tell-tale signs.
The app has also been highly recommended by women’s interest groups who have said that the language is particularly sex-positive and succinct, as well as mixing interesting and useful information with sex education, suggesting it could be beneficial for younger girls, too.
There is also a strong community of users behind the app who are there to offer advice, tips, or just to dissipate any fears women or girls might have about what’s going on with their body.
The app is available for free on iOS.
Additional reporting from Elaine Burke
Please note, that while the terms ‘women’ and ‘girls’ are used throughout, we acknowledge that these apps and services can be used by whomever needs them, including women, men and non-binary people.
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