There are loads of menstrual tracking apps. Several have been around for years, are excellent at what they do, and, for that reason, they’re incredibly popular – like Clue and Flo.
This hasn’t stopped wearable tech brands from developing their own menstrual cycle-tracking tech. The big question is: should you give up your favorite app for the features your favorite wearable offers?
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The truth about menstrual health tracking
There are obvious benefits to having your period data logged in the same app as your wearable data.
You can spot patterns – maybe your period affects your sleep – and it’s easier than using multiple apps each day. In some cases, it also means data is more accurate.
For example, the Whoop and Oura devices in our list below collect temperature data, which is then used to predict your next period.
It’s not all good news. There are varying levels of accuracy between brands. And, to make things more confusing, there are many varying experiences.
Everyone’s body is different, everyone’s cycle is different, and an algorithm that knows one person’s cycle extremely well, accurately predicting their periods month after month, never seems to provide accurate predictions for another’s.
We have to rely primarily on anecdotal experiences to make decisions because there’s little research comparing all of the options – the tech companies themselves often fund the few studies out there.
Experiences with menstrual cycle tracking might be different, but, as we’ll soon discover, the features offered by tech companies are similar.
What do period tracking wearables do?
The majority allow you to track periods and log symptoms – like moods, intensity of flow, etc. – then serve up predictions for when your next period and fertile window might be. You can switch on notifications, so you’re told when your next period is due and have instant access to view and log where you’re at in your cycle from your wrist.
In this guide, we’ll look at some of the most popular wearable brands and the menstrual cycle tracking features they offer, exploring what they do and how they do it.
These features are updated regularly, so keep checking back as we’ll add new brands and updates as they roll out.
You don’t need an Apple Watch to use Apple’s cycle tracking feature – you can find it in the Health app on your iPhone. But if you own an Apple Watch Series 8 or Apple Watch SE you can use it from your wrist.
You can log information about your periods and, like many of the other offerings we’ll see in this list, Apple will predict your next one. Including when to expect your period, your fertile window and your ovulation day. The more data you add, the better predictions will be.
Apple uses heart rate data from your Apple Watch to make more accurate and seamless predictions. But on the Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra, the company added a temperature sensor, which is focused on cycle tracking.
This will retrospectively track your cycle, and also look for shifts that could indicate a medical condition.
You can input your basal body temperature yourself if you don’t have an Apple Watch. You can add symptoms and other data that might be useful for tracking trends throughout your cycle or showing a doctor. And you can specify whether you’re pregnant, lactating or using contraceptives – these are specifics that not every tracking feature on this list asks you.
This feature has had some criticism for not being ideal for people who are having trouble conceiving and would like more granular data about their fertile window – some apps show percentages of fertility each day, for example. However, we’re wary about recommending any options on this list if you have specific needs beyond simply tracking your period.
Predictions tend to be accurate, and we found many positive stories online. However, as we’ll see with the other examples, that’s a subjective experience.
The Fitbit app provides users with a calendar to track past periods. Its algorithm then uses that data to predict future periods, fertile windows and ovulation days. These predictions get more accurate the more you add, and there’s also a section for keeping track of symptoms – like moods, flow intensity and more.
Users’ reviews of this feature, which Fitbit calls ‘Menstrual Health’, are mixed. People with regular periods with no concerns – like trouble conceiving or irregular periods – get accurate predictions and even say the results are similar to those in the more popular apps, like Clue and Flo.
There’s a focus on ovulation as much as there is on periods – and you can add ovulation test results – which means it is an option for those tracking their fertility.
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But as you can’t enter temperature data here, there are more reliable rivals, like Natural Cycles or Ava.
There’s also no pregnancy tracking. In fact, there’s no option to tell the app you’re pregnant; instead, people just have to turn notifications off.
One of the benefits of having menstrual tracking rolled into the Fitbit wearable experience is that you can see what stage you’re at in your cycle from your wrist – although you can’t track from your wrist like you can with rival brands.
Read our full guide to Fitbit’s period tracking features.
Garmin makes many wearables designed for everyday use. But it also caters for people who take training seriously, which means adding in menstrual tracking could be hugely beneficial.
Not only to have your data in one place but because the app does provide some insights as you enter each phase of your cycle that could impact training and recovery. Although some people find these insights generic, seeing a brand connecting the dots for you is positive rather than expecting you to notice health patterns from multiple graphs.
You can find Garmin’s Menstrual Cycle card within the Garmin Connect app. Like the other examples, this is a place to track past periods and see predictions for future cycles, as well as fertility predictions. You can also log additional data, like your flow, mood, ovulation tests and sexual activity.
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You can add your period and view predictions directly into the app on your phone or bring up the widget on a Garmin device – most Garmin wearables are compatible, but it’s worth checking.
Unlike most of the other options on this list, Garmin adds pregnancy tracking into its offering – many don’t track pregnancy at all, and Fitbit doesn’t even acknowledge it. Pregnant people get information about their baby’s size and weight and can log data, like their baby’s movements and blood glucose readings.
Handily, there are also insights about how stages of your pregnancy may affect your data and training. Granted, it might not be as in-depth as pregnancy-specific apps, but it’s refreshing to see that cycle tracking and women’s health features aren’t always focused on periods.
Regarding accuracy, there are generally good reviews online, and people are sharing positive experiences, especially regarding the predictions and recommendations served up throughout the month. Although a few people with PCOS and irregular cycles say, Garmin’s tracking didn’t work for them.
Read our full guide to Garmin’s period tracking.
You’ll find a simple Cycle Calendar within the Huawei Health app, which allows you to track past periods and then predicts future periods and fertile windows.
You can track some physical symptoms – like your flow intensity and pain levels – but there isn’t as much to log here as in other apps, so we’d only recommend it if you’re looking for a simple solution.
Like Clue, we like that the cycle tracking feature here presents your data in a ring. Otherwise, the app feels very basic, especially compared to many others on this list. Granted, that won’t be a dealbreaker for some people, but if you’re using it daily, you want it to feel slick.
Some devices, like the Huawei Watch Fit Series, allow you to see the Cycle Calendar from your wrist, then check predictions and add periods that way too. You’ll also get a notification the day before your period is due, but you can change that if it doesn’t work for you.
If you want to try these features, we highly recommend checking that the wearable you have in mind is compatible. While looking for reviews about how accurate people found the Cycle Calendar, the main complaint was it didn’t work with specific wearable devices and phones.
Judging from the reviews we did find, some users did get accurate predictions from Huawei’s cycle tracking, but it feels like you’d be better off with a third-party app for now.
The Oura Ring tracks lots of data from your finger. The latest version, the Oura Ring Gen 3, uses that data in its Period Prediction feature – currently in beta.
Oura says that most menstrual tracking apps work on numbers, like the average length of cycles, rather than data – this explains why there are different experiences across apps and methods. Oura aims to change that and use information collected from sensors on the ring to predict your period more accurately. This includes temperature readings – 1440 are taken each day – and heart rate.
All of your menstrual data is presented in a simple calendar format that’s easy to use. Like all apps, you will need to give Oura time to get to know your body, and predictions improve over time. However, it’s not for those using hormonal contraceptives or pregnant people.
Although we love the potential of using so much data, online reviews of Period Prediction aren’t so promising. Several people said predictions were wildly inaccurate, and there isn’t a way to change cycle length or other data. These appear to be teething problems, considering Oura is still developing the feature.
Check out our Oura Ring review
Samsung was a little late to add a menstrual cycle tracking feature in 2020. It now offers period tracking and options to log your symptoms, like moods and sexual activity, which you can do via the Samsung Health app on your phone or the Women’s Health app on your Samsung smartwatch.
You’ll also see predictions based on past data. These are generated from a partnership between Samsung and the popular period tracking app Glow. We’d expect predictions to be accurate, given Glow has a good track record, but there are few reviews online about experiences with the app, so it isn’t easy to say.
The overall user experience with menstrual tracking within Samsung’s Health app is basic, there’s a boring-looking calendar to see your cycle data, but it works fine if you want a straightforward option. It’s worth mentioning that you can access the Google App Store with most Samsung smartwatches, so you can use a third-party menstrual tracking app instead.
In the same vein as Garmin, we like the Whoop menstrual cycle offering – called Menstrual Cycle Coaching – because it gives you insights about your training and recovery based on your cycle. It’s positive to see a wearable tech brand turning mountains of data into feedback that’s (hopefully) meaningful.
Whoop is also genuinely interested in women’s health and hormones, funding research into training differences between people using hormonal birth control and those who don’t. With that in mind, Whoop’s menstrual tracking features are only for people not using hormonal birth control.
You track your periods, and the Whoop app then delivers period predictions – so far, so similar to the rest. But the difference with Whoop is that you’ll see recommendations related to your strain levels – the energy you exert each day – and sleep, as you’ll have different needs throughout your cycle. As with all things Whoop, data is pretty granular but visualized in a way that makes it easy to digest.
Unfortunately, anyone trying to conceive or pregnant people won’t find anything useful here. This is disappointing, but given Whoop’s focus on women’s health, we hope the company will roll out more features in the future.
Read our full Whoop 4.0 review.
Menstrual health tracking: what you need to consider
A lot of work needs to be done to make menstrual health tracking features inclusive.
They’re still predominantly for people with regular periods who want a basic period tracking and prediction solution.
If you have a specific need or concern, like irregular periods, PCOS or trouble conceiving, most are little better than a calendar, although the Series 8 has changed that.
If you want to track your cycle for a specific reason, you’ll need to spend time choosing the best option. For example, if you wish to track your fertility because you’re trying to conceive, look to specialist solutions, like Ava.
If you’re concerned about mood problems relating to your cycle, like PMDD, you’ll want to ensure there’s a robust set of mood tracking options and they’re presented well.
We also recommend you consider the privacy implications of handing sensitive data to a tech company.
This should always be a trade-off that you weigh up – is this service worth parting with my personal information?
But given the recent overturning of Roe vs Wade in the US, it’s more important than ever.
Most tech companies must legally hand over data if the authorities ask for it. That means you’ll need to consider the implications of sharing your menstrual data – a decision only you can make.