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‘Count the Kicks’ campaign encourages expecting moms to notice babies’ movements

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 5:54 AM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama Department of Public Health has a new message for expecting mothers to “count the kicks” of their babies, and it’s offering some tools to help.

According to the Alabama Center for Health Statistics, one out of every 113 pregnancies in Alabama ends in stillbirth. This new campaign is designed to reduce those numbers.

“This evidence-based campaign will help educate pregnant women and their families about simple and effective ways to improve birth outcomes,” Samille Jackson, Maternal and Child Health Coordinator, ADPH, said. “We are hopeful the prevention campaign will reduce the heartbreak too many expectant parents suffer when their babies are stillborn.”

Count the Kicks teaches the method for, and importance of, tracking fetal movement during the third trimester of pregnancy. Research shows the benefits of expectant moms tracking their baby’s movements daily and learning how long it normally takes their baby to get to 10 movements. After a few days, moms will begin to see a pattern, a normal amount of time it takes their baby to get to 10 movements. If their baby’s “normal” changes during the third trimester, this could be a sign of potential problems and is an indication that the expectant mom should call her healthcare provider.

Count the Kicks also has a free app available in the iOS and Google Play app stores that provide expectant moms a simple, non-invasive way to monitor their baby’s well-being every day. The Count the Kicks app is available in 12 languages, including English, Spanish, and Haitian-Creole. Its features include a kick-counting history, daily reminders, and the ability to count for single babies and multiples. Nearly 3,000 expectant women have downloaded the app in Alabama already.

We also know that during this COVID-19 pandemic, expectant moms have reported changes to their regularly scheduled prenatal visits and an increase in telehealth visits. Now is a critical time for expectant women to track their baby’s movements every day in the third trimester. By doing so, expectant moms will have the peace of mind to know when things are alright and when things have changed.

Maternal health providers, birthing hospitals, social services agencies, childbirth educators, and other providers in Alabama can order FREE Count the Kicks educational materials (available at https://countthekicks.org/) to help them have the kick counting conversation with expectant parents.

According to ADPH, Alabama lost approximately 527 babies to stillbirth during the time period of 2014-2018. In Iowa, where Count the Kicks began, the state’s stillbirth rate dropped by nearly 32 percent in the first 10 years of the campaign (2008-2018). Iowa’s rate went from 33rd worst in the country to one of the lowest, while the country’s rate remained relatively stagnant.

ADPH hopes to bring the same success to Alabama, which would save approximately 169 babies in the state each year.

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