Garmin is adding pregnancy tracking to its smartwatches and Connect app. The feature will let users track pregnancy-related symptoms like fatigue and monitor their progress toward their due date. It will also let them pause updates on their training status, which typically uses metrics like the amount someone exercises to classify their fitness level and progress.
The feature will also let users adjust heart rate alerts (heart rate can increase during pregnancy) and change hydration goals. An additional app will let users monitor contractions during labor.
Pregnant users have criticized smartwatch and wearable companies in the past for not including pregnancy modes on the devices. Apple Watches would continue to nudge people to close their activity rings, for example, even if doctors told them to limit exercise. Swapna Krishna wrote about her frustrations with the alerts back in 2018 in Engadget. “I couldn’t tell the app, ‘Hey, this is actually what is healthy for me right now,’ and because of that it had become completely useless,” she said. “More than that, it’d become a constant source of anxiety, reminding me that I wanted to be more active than I was physically able to be.”
Posts on Fitbit’s feature suggestions board dating back to 2013 ask for the company to include a pregnancy setting. Both Apple and Fitbit users can (finally) track their menstrual cycles but still can’t note a pregnancy, which would skew the cycle tracking data. Withings has a pregnancy tracker that works with its smart scale, allowing users to monitor weight gain during the course of their pregnancy. “Helping people understand what’s natural, what you can do and what you should talk to a doctor about is really important,” Susie Felber, global content director of Withings, told Krishna in 2018.
The Garmin pregnancy feature will allow users to keep using their smartwatch during the course of their pregnancy. “It’s our hope that this pregnancy tracking feature helps women make sense of how their pregnancy ties into their active lifestyles and overall well-being,” Susan Lyman, Garmin vice president of global consumer marketing, said in a press release.