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Being empowered to make choices about your health is the ultimate glow-up for 2018. The latest way to stay up to date (and keep yourself in optimal health) involves a whole lot of data—from when to expect your next period to how sleep and exercise are affecting your mood.
Enter femtech apps.
Search the App Store for any number of women’s health needs like period tracking, pregnancy, sexual health, or birth control, and you’re likely to be scrolling for a while. These apps are a huge part of women’s healthcare in 2018. Danish entrepreneur Ida Tin calls this niche technology femtech, and it generates billions of investment dollars a year.
Tin is the co-founder and CEO of period-tracking app Clue and claims femtech’s popularity is due to the number of women who want more personalized choices. Femtech allows technology—which we’re already using in daily life—to address the complexities of women’s bodies and shed light on topics once considered taboo, like menstruation and sexual health.
“Reproductive health is an incredibly foundational and central part of our lives, but there’s a real lack of clarity for women,” Tin told Code Red Co. last year. “These misconceptions and stigmas exist because of a lack of research into, and understanding of, menstruation.”
With everything from weekly updates during pregnancy to trusted sexual health info at your fingertips, femtech apps have a lot to offer. Here are six apps that will give you a better understanding of your health, help you connect with other women, and keep you safe along the way.
Clue is one of many apps helping users track their menstrual cycles. However, it is set apart by being the highest ranking free period-tracking app according to the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, a publication of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). The study scored more than 1,000 apps based on accuracy, features, and functionality and Clue earned the highest score of those evaluated.
With Clue you can track your period and fertile windows and document moods, pain symptoms, exercise, medication, and sexual activity to gain a better understanding of your own personal patterns.
Making Healthcare More Accessible
Lack of access to healthcare services is one of the biggest women’s issues we face. From the inability to attend regular medical appointments to financial barriers to affording standard care, women are struggling to keep themselves healthy. Enter Maven, an app that connects users with medical and mental health professionals via video call or private message.
You can book an appointment with a doctor, nurse practitioner, midwife, nutritionist, lactation consultant, or licensed counselor directly through the app. The appointment costs vary, from $18 for a 10-minute appointment with a nurse practitioner or midwife to $70 for a 40-minute appointment with a mental health professional. They’ll also write you prescriptions, so you’ll never have to go without birth control, no matter your state legislature’s feelings on it. Unfortunately, most insurance companies won’t accept claims from Maven, so you’ll likely have to pay out of pocket. Still, increasing the potential for access is something we’re definitely happy to get behind.
Eve by Glow
Glow, an enterprise that creates “personal health tracking products [to] illuminate health through data,” offers several femtech apps including Glow, an ovulation and fertility tracker focused on supporting women who are trying to conceive. Glow also offers Nurture for pregnancy tracking and Glow Baby for baby’s first year.
Eve by Glow offers similar features as other period trackers but is geared more toward women trying to avoid pregnancy. Eve allows you to track your cycle and sexual activity while also connecting you with trusted information on health and sex brought to you by Bedsider, a birth control support network operated by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
The Bump Pregnancy Countdown
Planner, Prenatal Health Tips, and Product Reviews
From the people who brought you the wedding planning website The Knot comes a one-stop-shop for expectant moms.
The Bump Pregnancy Countdown app features a planner with information and even suggested questions for prenatal doctor’s visits, a catalog of baby products and reviews, and a question tool that allows users to get quick answers from other moms as well as medical experts. HealthyWay’s audience development strategist and resident momma-to-be, Ashley, says she likes that “it tells you both what is going on with your baby and also what you can expect week-by-week to happen to your body during pregnancy.”
Hey! Vina is like Tinder, but for female companionship. It uses the same “swipe right” idea to help you find new friends and join communities of like-minded women. The app, which is available only to self-identified women, suggests friendship matches based on mutual Facebook acquaintances, proximity, and results from various personality quizzes.
We all know how difficult it can be to find and maintain adult friendships, and Hey! Vina makes that process a little easier.
That Secure Feeling, Just a Button Away
SafeTrek was founded in HealthyWay’s hometown: St. Louis, Missouri, and while we love giving a shoutout to local businesses, that’s not the only reason we’re recommending this personal safety app.
Though it wasn’t necessarily designed specifically for women, nearly all of this app’s 250,000 users are women. What sets SafeTrek apart from other safety apps is that you don’t have to bring the phone to your ear or even remove it from your purse or pocket to operate it. When you’re in a situation where you could feel vulnerable—walking alone to your car at night, for instance—this app may offer you some peace of mind. All you have to do is press the app’s center button while en route. Once you reach a safe place, release the button and enter a PIN. If the button is released and no PIN is entered, the app will immediately contact police and send them to your location.
Do we love that the burden of women’s safety nearly always falls on women? Nope. But there’s no doubt we feel a little safer knowing this app has our backs.