When Apple first unveiled HealthKit, its health and ﬁtness tracking platform, the company bragged that it would allow users to "monitor all of the metrics that you're most interested in." But it didn't. Apple's "comprehensive" health tracking app failed to provide any tools to monitor reproductive health — or even track periods.
That's about to change. This week at Apple's annual World Wide Developers Conference, Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi revealed that an upcoming update to HealthKit and its Health app (which is basically a dashboard for data that's either entered manually or funneled in from linked apps) will bring new reproductive health tracking features to iOS 9.
Here's a quick rundown of the lady-oriented features you can expect to find in Apple's Health app when the company ships iOS 9 later this year:
Basal Body Temperature
This is the body’s temperature at rest; it can increase slightly during ovulation. According to the Mayo Clinic, women are most fertile during a two-to-three day period before their basal temperature rises. For women trying to get pregnant, tracking their daily basal body temperature can help them figure out when they’ll ovulate and the best days for conception.
Cervical Mucus Quality
This fluid nourishes and protects sperm as it seeks out an egg, and fluctuates in amount and quality throughout the menstrual cycle, according to the American Pregnancy Association. As a woman approaches ovulation, cervical mucus becomes more "fertile," or clear and stretchy. The next version of Health will enable women to track their cervical mucus quality, characterizing it as "dry," "sticky," "creamy," "watery," and "egg white."
Health’s lack of a period tracker was one of the app’s most glaring omissions. Apple’s corrected that in iOS 9, adding a feature that will allow women to log the beginning and end of their cycles and characterize the flow as “light,” “medium,” “heavy,” or “unspecified.”
Ovulation Test Results
These urine- or blood-based tests are helpful in predicting ovulation, and the next iteration of Health will allow users to log test results as positive or negative.
Get busy last night? Use — or forget — protection? Both those data points can be logged on the iPhone.
Stephanie M. Lee is a science reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Stephanie M. Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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