In a move to hopefully help women understand how their menstrual cycle relates to overall health, Fitbit has introduced period tracking on its newest device, the Fitbit Versa (available for presale now), as well as on the Fitbit Ionic. This spring, it will also become available to anyone using the Fitbit app.
A recent Fitbit survey found that 80 percent of women didn’t know how many phases were in their menstrual cycle, and more than 70 percent were unable to identify the average length of a cycle correctly. “The more a woman knows about her body, periods, cervical mucus, fertility, and hormonal cycles, the better,” says Sherry Ross, M.D., an OBGYN in Santa Monica, California and the author of She-ology. “Every woman should have a period tracker on her phone to help her understand her body better. There’s absolutely no downside!”
Get this, Fitbit’s female health tracking allows you to log your period data and record symptoms like headaches, cramps, and acne—and the longer you log your data, the better the app gets at accurately personalizing and predicting your cycle and what that means for symptoms.
You’ll also be able to look at your health holistically—so, for example, you’ll be able to see that you always get a bad night’s sleep two days before your period, or that you’re often fatigued the week you’re ovulating.
Fitbit also hopes to use the data to help healthcare providers and researchers better understand women’s health. “The nuances of the menstrual cycle have not been as widely studied across populations as have other areas in healthcare,” says Katharine White, M.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Boston University and a Fitbit Advisor, in a press release. “This exciting development by Fitbit could help potentially create one of the largest databases of menstrual health metrics in the world.”
The new tech also hopes to help women with fertility, by providing all this health information right on your wrist. “In general, OBGYN’s and healthcare providers really lag behind in presenting women with useful and detailed information about their hormonal cycles, periods, and fertility,” says Dr. Ross. “And women can’t wait for their healthcare provider to initiate the conversation on the best times of the month to conceive. So while modern technology can’t replace a visit to the doctor, it can certainly help women better understand family planning strategies.”
Dr. Ross also suggests bringing four to six month’s worth of data to your healthcare provider when you want to discuss fertility and conception. This data helps create a more productive conversation and gives your healthcare provider a detailed and nuanced look into how your body is behaving—which means they’re better prepared to help you.