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2019: The Year of Femtech

Closing the gender gap, one device at a time

One of the best ways to close the gender gap in technology is to develop a set of products that speak to the female market. Welcome to the year of femtech, broadly defined as products that can help women achieve better health and quality of life.

The products fall into a number of categories: pregnancy and birth control, prescriptive analysis, health and fitness.

At this year’s CES in Las Vegas, there were some fascinating examples of how high tech can help women learn more about health-related behavior and offer healthy regimes.

Perhaps the fastest growing area of femtech is fertility. For consumers trying to get pregnant, avoiding getting pregnant, wanting to understand postpartum difficulties, or just wanting to monitor their cycle for a host of other reasons, TempDrop is a wearable fertility monitor that’s put on when going to bed. It measures precise body temperature and also gives sleep information. Unlike other basal thermometers that women have relied on as “first thing in the AM” indicators, TempDrop works continuously and the most accurate reading occurs about 2 hours before waking.

Also at CES, Ivy measures hormone levels in a women’s urine (much like a pregnancy test) to determine the time of optimum fertility.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers should try to breastfeed their infants for 6 months, but two-thirds of women have expressed problems with nursing, according to numerous studies. And so, at CES this year breast pumping gadgets were in. There was Imalac, a breast massaging bra designed to mimic the hand technique (think cow udder) commonly used to facilitate breastfeeding. The controller or app lets you apply pressure, speed, and length of the massage.

See also: Imalac’s TWICE Picks Award Win

Elvie, a more diminutive looking pump, claimed to be the first silent breastfeeder. And if you’ve ever heard the slurping whir of the breast pump, you’d understand why women feel more bovine than human. Elvie is silent, hands-free and an app can even tell you how much milk you’ve expressed. (At $499 I’d love to see a rental version.)

For those sensitive to ice cold pumps touching your breasts there’s LaVie‘s new warming and massaging unit. LaVie‘s is great for helping relieve soreness and clogged ducts, even though it looks a bit Brunhilde-ish.

Watch: Cool Things From The CES 2019 Floor

Baby in the oven? Consumers can now create their own sonograms whenever they wish using Baby-Scan, an at-home sonogram. Could be just what expectant moms want, especially those who enjoy journaling and sharing with friends and family.

At $449 these home sonograms aren’t inexpensive but they offer an exciting glimpse of what’s going on in there whenever the spirit moves you. (Most studies now show that ultrasound is harmless for the baby, and while the device is FCC certified, you should get a doctor’s opinion.)

Like many other telemedicine services, Answered offers content and consultation with experts, but it’s solely devoted to expectant or new moms.

We would be remiss not to mention the kerfuffle surrounding Ose, a robotic vibrator that had its award rescinded when the show’s operators deemed it inappropriate for the Robotics and Drones category. By CES 2020 we’re betting that women’s sexual health will be just as celebrated as the important women’s health products seen this year.