Whether you're trying to get pregnant (or avoid it), or you simply want a better handle on Mother Nature, a lot of us track our periods. There are countless apps that do this for you, and then there's my more traditional method of writing, "Got my flo," on a sticky note with the date. If you want something more convenient (and probably more reliable than my sticky note), an app you likely already use has integrated a menstruationally beautiful new feature: Fitbit added a period tracker, they announced in a blog post, officially making at least one part of period-havers' lives a little easier much easier.
In the post, Fitbit explained the results of a recent survey they held, which revealed 80 percent of participants didn't know how many phases are in their cycle, and over 70 percent didn't know the average length of a cycle. (Guilty!) Tracking the ups and downs of your cycle over the months and years can be challenging, and Fitbit wants to make it easier. Thus, they're making female health tracking available as of spring this year. If you've identified yourself as a female user, you'll automatically get the notification that the new feature is available, and can opt in, if you so choose. If you haven't identified as female on the app, you can still edit your dashboard to include the new feature.
Here are some things you get with the new feature, per the blog post:
- Period tracking: log the dates, your symptoms, and even get push notifications prior to and the day of your predicted period start date. Compare the dates over time to see how messed up your period might be. Yes!
- Find where you are in your cycle, and when you will and won't be fertile. Perfect for aspiring babymakers/aspiring not-staining-their-favorite-underwearers.
- Sync it up with your smartwatch, making period tracking faster and easier than ever. Look sophisticated while you appear to check the time the old-fashioned way, even though you're actually making a mental note to buy more tampons.
- Read articles about ovulation, fertility, and other related topics, from Fitbit's female health experts, Katharine White, MD, MPH, and Larry Tiglao, MD.
- Join the community and chat it up with other women about birth control, pregnancy, menopause, and other things potentially making your life terrigreat (terrible and/or great).
The benefits of mastering your cycle are clear — but in case they aren't, remember that one time I got my period while working an eight-hour shift at the airport an hour from my house and spent the rest of the workday walking around in my own puddle? That's why period tracking is important.
In all seriousness, female health education isn't exactly a hugely popular field of study. If (that's a big if) you got any of it in school, it was probably limited to a cartoon of the reproductive system drawn to look like a smiley face — which it's anything but. We're still so scared to talk about periods. Periods are blue in commercials, for Pete's sake.
With Fitbit's new addition, you can better understand how your body is functioning, study and compare your health across time, and manage your symptoms more efficiently. Really, people, this isn't just about periods. Your cycle affects so many things in people's lives — from emotions to appetite, to sleep and relationships, to work and overall hormonal balance. This isn't just period tracking. This is life tracking!
Plus, we as a society and culture are still actively working to normalize periods, and make it so that, ya know, commercials will quit making them blue. There's nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of. It's nature. Isn't it high time we started offering people more resources for better understanding their bodies? Of course.
Mark your calendars. This spring, it's on.