There are more tech options for vaginas than just the screenings at OB/GYN offices.
I’m sure we’ve all seen (and maybe even have) apps to track our periods, and perhaps you also have an app to track your fertility, but did you know that there’s also an app that is literally designed to take up-close pictures of your vulva? And that there is now a pregnancy test that hooks up to your phone via Bluetooth and will provide fun distractions while you wait for your results? I am fascinated by technology in general, but “vagina tech” is particularly intriguing to me.
While vaginas and the things they do are still considered taboo to speak openly about, the fact that we now have an ever-expanding pool of apps and other forms of technology geared specifically towards this type of genitalia is definitely a step in a more liberated direction. To learn more about “vagina tech,” keep reading.
Sure there’s the old hand mirror trick, and, well, your iPhone’s camera, but Labella is an app designed to educate you about the vulva, not just puzzle over it. Labella combines a pair of camera-equipped underwear, and an actual cell phone app. Essentially, you put the underwear on, the camera inside takes a picture of your vulva, and while you’re waiting for the images, the phone app will ask you to identify parts of external genitalia that appear on screen. In addition to vulva selfies and “3D models of the vulva, vagina, anus, and perineum,” the app also provides examples of pelvic floor exercises.
Labella was designed by a group of Newcastle University grad students, including PhD candidate Teresa Almeida, in an attempt to familiarize people with their own vaginas in a fun yet educational way. “Future developments will be aimed at young women,” Almeida wrote on The Conversation. The app will give women “an educational tool…to get to know their bodies in a way that feels comfortable and knowledge driven.”
We’ve discussed multiple ways of tracking periods here on Helloflo, including popular apps such as Clue and Pink Pad, and the good old-fashioned way of marking your calendar. I’ve written about my love for Clue in the past; its design is super gender-neutral and clean, and it uses straightforward language over cutesy, non-medical terms, which is always a plus in my book. If you’re looking for something a bit more visually enticing and fun (but still just as effective), Planned Parenthood also recently released their own period tracking app, called Spot On. Spot On combines clear, gender-neutral language, with little emojis to match symptoms and moods. It’s very adorable, and like the other apps mentioned above, it doesn’t just measure your cycle; you can also use it to input moods and physical symptoms, birth control methods, and activities, like travel. Pink Pad also has a chat forum, where real users can post questions and talk to each other about menstruation, fertility, and other reproductive health and body topics.
Fertility tracking apps are great for people who are trying to become pregnant, trying to avoid pregnancy, or just for those who want to learn more about how their cycle works. Fertility trackers work by taking information such as the length of your period, physical symptoms (such as consistency of cervical fluid), and basal body temperature, and using these factors to estimate when you might be ovulating.
Two of the apps above, Clue and Pink Pad, implement fertility trackers, so you can get all of your cycle information in one place. Other popular apps that include both menstruation and fertility tracking features are Glow, which also takes into account far more than just the basic length of your cycle, and Kindara, which does the same. These apps account for vitamins, medication, and more, and are great ways to intimately learn about your cycle.
This is another topic we’ve covered on Helloflo — the Bluetooth-enabled pregnancy test, Pregnancy Pro, by First Response. Pregnancy Pro is a pregnancy test that syncs to a smartphone app, and offers clear, simple instructions for how to use the devices. The app first allows you to input your desired pregnancy test results; then, after you’ve taken the test, you are presented with several options to fill your time before the results come through. Options include “Calm Me,” “Educate Me,” and “Entertain Me,” and range from cute puppy videos to facts about pregnancy. Once the results are in, the app will provide corresponding next steps, such as “pregnancy support,” a “pregnancy tracker,” “infertility support,” “appointment reminders,” and even a place to jot down notes to bring to your doctor. The app also provides other external resources, based on both your desired results, and the outcome of the test.
Technology has come a long way in making reproductive health less taboo, and I’m thrilled to see where it goes next. Have you used any of the above technology? Share your experience in the comments below!