Garmin is the latest to throw its hat into the mobile women’s health ring, as this morning the company announced new menstrual cycle tracking to its app-based online fitness service alongside a slew of new Forerunner fitness smartwatches.
Starting today, Garmin Connect users can record their cycle type, symptoms and notes about their personal health. By doing so, the service will begin to predict when their next period will occur or outline windows of increased fertility. In addition, the app will surface fitness and nutrition educational content that is tailored to the user’s current phase of their cycle.
According to the release, Garmin is also sponsoring a University of Kansas Medical Center research study on how wearable-derived data could provide new support for menstrual cycle and ovulation tracking prediction.
While these features can be viewed within the mobile app, Garmin also noted in the announcement that certain wrist-worn Garmin devices will also provide discreet reminders for the wearer. So far, these Connect IQ-compatible devices include the Forerunner 645 Music, vívoactive 3, vívoactive 3 Music and fēnix 5 Plus Series, with functionality coming soon for the fēnix 5 Series, fēnix Chronos, Forerunner 935, Forerunner 945, Forerunner 645, Forerunner 245 and Forerunner 245 Music.
WHY IT MATTERS
It was just over a year ago that Fitbit began making noise about its new suite of female health tracking features for its fitness wearables and apps. When considering the continued support and earnings call lip service the features have enjoyed since, Garmin’s decision to introduce women’s health support is understandable, and could suggest that other consumer device makers are considering similar moves.
WHAT’S THE TREND
Beyond these consumer devices, standalone fertility tracking apps and dedicated wearables are encompassing a greater and greater portion of the digital health market. Alongside the controversial Natural Cycles app, which received De Novo marketing approval in August, other digital approaches to women’s health include Ava’s cycle-tracking wearable and Concepta Diagnostics’ myLotus Fertility app and hormone monitoring system.
ON THE RECORD
“Garmin has leveraged our unparalleled fitness expertise into a feature that lets active women track their cycle in the same place they tracked their last run,” Susan Lyman, VP of global consumer marketing at Garmin, said in a statement. “Cycle tracking was developed for women, by Garmin women – from the engineers, to the project managers, to the marketing team. In this way we could ensure that we were authentically addressing a woman’s actual wants and needs.”