clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Glow Updates App to Help Women Prevent or Prepare for Pregnancy

The fertility app will now help those “not trying to conceive” and “considering pregnancy.”

Glow, which launched an iOS app last summer to help women conceive, will unveil a new version Thursday that expands its mission to general reproductive health.

The San Francisco company, which emerged from serial entrepreneur Max Levchin’s HVF Labs, attempts to leverage information from individuals, anonymized data across the user base and machine-learning tools to provide guidance and advice. The free app asks users to regularly log their sexual activity, menstruation cycle, level of cervical mucus, body mass index, physical discomfort and more — and then computes the chances of getting pregnant on any given day.

“We’re a data science company at heart,” said Mike Huang, chief executive of the company, which raised $6 million from Founders Fund and Andreessen Horowitz. “The more data entered, the better it gets.”

The app also provides tips for improving personal reproductive odds, like suggesting particular foods and vitamins, and flags potential health issues raised by certain patterns.

The update will add new categories, including “not trying to conceive” and “considering pregnancy.” One goal of the expanded features is to help women prevent conception by highlighting the days they’re most likely to become pregnant. Another is to encourage them to start considering health issues that can affect their ability to reproduce years before they actually want to.

A notable example is the potential to spot menstruation patterns that could indicate polycystic ovary syndrome, which may make it harder to conceive but can often be managed through diet and lifestyle changes.

Glow will also unveil an Android app for the first time on Thursday, though it won’t initially include all the new features. Huang noted this will allow the company to help more users in developing nations where Google’s mobile operating system is dominant and discussing reproductive issues is often taboo.

Glow hasn’t provided metrics on downloads or active users to date.

Huang said fertility and smart phones are just the entry points for Glow. They’re already exploring possibilities with wearable devices that can collect more health data passively, without requiring users to continually log information. And while they’re not talking in specifics yet, it’s clear other health issues are squarely in their sights.

“Any procedure that’s elective and expensive, we’re interested in tackling,” Huang said. “The ultimate goal is tackling the entire health care system, which hopefully we can both agree is broken.”

Max Levchin showed off Glow for Re/code’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher back in May. Check out the video below:

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.