Wednesday October 05, 2022

How to track your menstrual cycles using a smartwatch

While smartwatches, fitness trackers, and smartwatches have been around for a while, period tracking was only introduced in 2018. These integrations had many similarities to your regular period-tracking app, but you could view and input data directly from your wrist. These features were part of a wearable platform so users could view and input data from their wrist. This is a lot more convenient than using a calendar or entering dates into a spreadsheet. Before you start, there are some things you should consider.
First, you must acknowledge that your sensitive health data, including information about your sexual activity, is being given over to a third-party. It is a smart move to review the privacy policies of wearable makers regarding health data and to seriously consider whether you are comfortable with the possible consequences and potential shortcomings of these features.
These features can be used to help you plan fertility, but they should not be your only method of contraception. FDA has not approved smartwatch period tracking features for this purpose. (Though there have been two cycle tracking apps.) These apps are designed to help you monitor your bodily trends.
Some wearable platforms do not support period tracking. These platforms do not support period tracking, but here are some examples and how to get started.
Photograph by Victoria Song / Verge

Apple Watch
Here’s the first place to find Apple’s Health app privacy policies and an additional support page regarding Apple’s policy regarding your health records.
You can download a third-party app to track your period on your Apple Watch. However, you can also use Apple’s native option, Cycle Tracking. Cycle Tracking allows you to log your period as well as symptoms, sexual activity and spotting. You can also log any other factors that could affect your menstrual cycle, such as pregnancy, lactation, or use of contraceptives. A summary will also be available that includes a cycle history and a period prediction.
If you prefer, you can log your period information directly into Health app. It’s available to all, not just Apple Watch owners. You can only do certain things from your iPhone, such as marking whether you are pregnant.
It can be useful to record your symptoms on your wrist, so you don’t forget them later. You don’t need to download Cycle Tracking, it’s already preloaded on your Watch.
To log your period directly from the wrist:
To get to the grid view or list view of your apps, hit the digital crown
Navigate to the Cycle Tracking App
You can swipe left or right at the top to select a day. The default day is the current one.
To add data, click + next to the field you choose. You can choose from Period, Symptoms or Sexual Activity.
Tap the menu item you want to log. (Eg. Period > Had Flow/No Flow > Light flow / Medium flow / Heavy flows.
Tap Done in top right corner
Scroll down to see a summary of your period prediction, last menstrual period, and other factors.
Image by Fitbit

Fitbit
Here is Fitbit’s Privacy Policy. It also includes its Health Data Sharing Policy.
Fitbit does not allow you to view your period data via the wrist, unlike the Apple Watch. The watch and tracker don’t allow you to log data directly. However, you can log your cycles, symptoms and ovulation test results as well as fluids and whether or not you took the morning after pill using the phone app.
You must first set up Menstrual Health Tracking in the Fitbit App to view period data on your wrist.
Click the Today tab in the Fitbit app
The Menstrual Health tile should look just like a pink droplet.
Click the Edit button at the top right to add the tile.
Scroll down and tap on the Menstrual Health tile for more information
Then, you’ll be asked to answer some questions about your cycle in order to predict its fertile window and other features.
You can view your menstrual cycles within the Menstrual Health tile in either a Trends or Calendar view. Your predicted period dates will be highlighted pink in the Calendar view. Your fertile window will also be highlighted in blue. To log details, click the green + button in the lower right-hand corner. Sometimes, you may be asked to verify that your period data are correct. The Trends tab will display your cycle history and some statistics about your average period length, estimated ovulation time, and cycle length.
This data can be viewed on your wrist
Swipe up on the clock face
This should display a summary dashboard with Today’s stats
Scroll down to the Menstrual Health tile. You should now be able to determine when your next period is.
Garmin
Garmin’s privacy policies can be found here.
When creating a training program for an athlete, it is important to consider your period. The Fitbits and Apple Watch offer fitness tracking, but they are more accessible to a wider audience. Garmin is a great option for them, but it also provides data for more serious athletes. The app provides insight into which supplements might be beneficial in stopping cramping.
Garmin also offers a menstrual tracking feature. Image: Garmin

The Garmin Connect app’s Menstrual Cycle Card will show you when your next period will start and what day it is. You can also record personal notes and track your flow, mood, sexual activity, discharge, and ovulation. You can also set up reminders for your period, fertility and period dates.
You can log your period using the Garmin Connect app, or on a compatible Garmin device. A list of compatible Garmin devices can be found here. Compatible Garmin trackers include a Menstrual Cycle Tracking widget that allows you to log symptoms and check your cycle data.
Garmin will guide you through the process of setting up different features, such as menstrual health tracking, once you have paired your device to your phone. Here’s how to set up your device.
Open Garmin Connect
Click the More tab at the bottom right
Select Health Stats

Scroll down to select Menstrual Cycle

Tap Get Started, answer the prompts about you period, and that’s all!
You must have already completed the above steps to view and log symptoms on your wrist.
First, make sure you check if your device has the Menstrual Cycle Tracking widget already installed.
If you don’t have the Garmin ConnectIQ store, you can download it.
You must grant permission for the widget to run in background, send and receive information, push notifications and Garmin Connect fitness profile.
Now you should be able navigate to the widget from your watch
Tap to open the widget
You can view your cycle and log your physical symptoms from this page.
Garmin is unique because it allows you to track your pregnancy more closely. Pregnant users can log in to Garmin to view information such as their baby’s weight and measurements, and also log symptoms, blood glucose and movements. It also contains explanations about how pregnancy might affect Garmin’s other metrics or training features.
To enable pregnancy tracking:
Open Garmin Connect
Tap the More tab at the bottom right
Select Settings and then User Settings

Scroll down and tap Women’s Health

Tap on the Pregnancy Type and choose Pregnancy
You will then be asked to choose your due date, hydration goals and weight gain goals. You can also choose to pause or reschedule your training.
Samsung
Here is Samsung’s privacy policy.
Samsung was late to add period monitoring to its wearables. It only added the feature in 2020. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 has also been upgraded to Google’s WearOS platform. This means you can access the Google Play Store. If you prefer, you can also download a third-party app. Samsung partnered with Glow to provide this feature. It should also be noted that Consumer Reports discovered serious privacy issues with Glow’s app back in 2016. Although the company has since claimed that it has fixed the issue, it is something that you should keep in mind.
Samsung introduced period tracking on the Galaxy Watch 3 in 2020. Image: Samsung

Samsung’s menstrual tracking is similar to other wearable manufacturers. You can track your period, get cycle predictions, log symptoms, record your moods, and monitor your sexual activity.
To view and add period data to the wrist:
Open the Samsung Health app for your watch
Scroll down to Women’s Health

To log your start date, tap Enter Period.
Tap the Daily Log heading to add your symptoms and other factors.
Select Save to Finish
While period tracking can be helpful in monitoring your health, it is also an optional tool. You don’t have the obligation to enter every symptom or sexual activity, even if you choose to track your period digitally. You can also choose to opt out or use analog options.

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