Review of Glow: A Reproductive Health App

Glow is a reproductive health app for Android and iOS, developed and released this year. It forms part of a triad of apps including Glow Nurture, which allows logging of pregnancy data, and Ruby (currently only available for iOS) which logs and advises on contraceptive use.

The purpose of Glow is to centralise fertility awareness measures for either optimisation of fertility, or for use as part of family planning through fertility awareness methods. Users can log their cycle length, body temperature and cervical mucus consistency to determine ovulation periods. After logging data, the app generates “insights” based on the data supplied i.e. short snippets of advice for improving fertility, or managing symptoms. In addition, Glow collects data on weight, stress levels, alcohol intake and exercise. Users are advised to enter a daily health log, and set reminders about user dependent contraceptive methods and pre-natal supplementation.

For all the data entry that is required, Glow is remarkably streamlined. It took very little time to enter a daily log, largely because the user interface to do so is excellent. Once the data is logged, the app returns to its home screen where the day of the cycle is demonstrated, alternating with the risk of conception (unless you’re using LARC, where it does not show this and is a nice touch). From here, it’s possible to navigate to all other areas of the app.

Glow’s user interface is exceptionally well designed, and using it feels intuitive. There are no flashy trimmings: the interface is streamlined, which is is probably why it comes in at around 24MB on your device. It can also synch with some fitness accounts with other providers.

Glow is free to download and use, and during my short time using it, I did not notice the presence of intrusive ads; although Glow’s ToCs do stipulate that advertised content is provided. Glow’s privacy statement says that personally identifiably data is not shared with third parties; although aggregate data is, which might explain where some of the profit comes from.

The main drawback to using Glow is that it is US-centric, and as such, its advice is based on US healthcare advice and guidelines. This said, the app can be used by people in other countries without feeling disconnected from the user’s personal experience.

Overall verdict: a powerful tool which can give women the tools to optimise fertility without taking up valuable baby-making time.

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