CHARLESTON, South Carolina – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is partnering with Count the Kicks, an evidence-based stillbirth prevention public health campaign, to educate and empower pregnant women in South Carolina about the importance of tracking fetal movement in the third trimester of pregnancy. One out of every 130 pregnancies in South Carolina end in stillbirth, according to South Carolina vital statistics. African American women are at greatest risk of losing their babies to stillbirth.
“Fetal movement is a good indicator of fetal health. We want mothers to be able to recognize normal fetal movement so they will then be able to recognize unusual patterns,” said Kimberly Seals, DHEC’s Director, Bureau of Maternal and Child Health. “Counting the kicks is a simple way for a mother to get in tune with their baby’s patterns between doctor visits and understand when they can notify their OB if something changes.”
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.
Maternal health providers, birthing hospitals, social services agencies, childbirth educators and other providers in Charleston are able to order FREE Count the Kicks educational materials to help them have the kick counting conversation with expectant parents. Count the Kicks also has a free phone app available in the iOS and Google Play app stores that provides expectant moms a simple, non-invasive way to monitor their baby’s well-being every day.
“The Count the Kicks app is saving babies across the country and is available in 12 languages, including English and Spanish. We encourage all expectant South Carolina moms to take advantage of the free app, whose features include kick-counting history, daily reminders and the ability to count for single babies and twins,” said Emily Price, Executive Director of Healthy Birth Day, Inc., the nonprofit organization that created Count the Kicks.
According to the most recent five-year average from the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 445 babies are born still each year in our state. 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). The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is hoping to bring the same success that Iowa has seen to South Carolina, which would save 129 babies in the state each year.