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Apr 3, 2018,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Connected health: Fitbit's new Versa smartwatch to track users’ menstrual cycles

Versa, Fitbit’s latest smartwatch, allows users to track their menstrual cycles. Connected to a mobile app, the watch’s algorithm offers women cycle predictions and helps them gauge ovulation, features that will be in place from May 2018.

 

Versa, the latest Fitbit smartwatch to hit the market, lets users track their menstrual cycles. In a press release dated 13 March, the US company announced "female health tracking to help women understand connections between their period, estimated fertile window, and overall health and wellness". These new options will be available in May 2018.

Previously cycle tracking was a function available only to users of dedicated mobile apps, as reported by Numerama. Though the service offered by Fitbit is itself based on a smartphone app, use will also be made of the data collated by the smartwatch.

 

Estimates provided by an algorithm

 

Versa owners can also record information on their periods, such as any pain or symptoms experienced during the course of their cycle. An algorithm uses this data to make "dynamic cycle predictions" and offer a wide range of information to users, calculating a start date for their next period and also letting them know where they are in a cycle at a given moment.

The watch uses the app to offer information on fertility, ovulation and common misconceptions. The company is seeking to combat a lack of awareness about women’s health. According to a survey it conducted recently, 80% of women did not know how many phases are in a menstrual cycle and more than 70% were unable to correctly identify the average length of a cycle, demonstrating a lack of awareness about women's health.

 

 

Information at the service of science

 

The data Versa collates from users could, in time, provide valuable information for gynaecologists. "The nuances of the menstrual cycle have not been as widely studied across populations as have other areas in healthcare,"said Dr. Katharine White, MD MPH, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Boston University School of Medicine and Fitbit Advisor. 

The watch can be pre-ordered now, with prices ranging between €199.95 and €229.95, depending on the colour. Versa has four days of battery life. Female health tracking will also be available to users of Ionic, another of Fitbit's smartwatches.

 

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