As a former practicing Obstetrician, I know the power of kick counting and educated my patients on this life-saving method during the third trimester of pregnancy. This is exactly why, in my current role as the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director, I wanted to partner with Count the Kicks, a proven stillbirth prevention public health campaign. Missouri vital statistics show that 458 stillborn babies are born each year in our state. The introduction of Count the Kicks in Missouri has the potential to save 119 babies every year if Missouri’s stillbirth rate decreases by 26 percent as has happened in neighboring Iowa where the campaign began.
Stillbirth affects every 1 in 167 pregnancies. Count the Kicks teaches the method for and importance of tracking fetal movement in the third trimester of pregnancy. Scientific studies show that expectant moms should track their baby’s movements once a day in the third trimester and learn how long it normally takes their baby to get to 10 movements. Moms will start to notice a pattern, a normal amount of time it takes their baby to get to 10. If “normal” changes during the third trimester this could be a sign of potential problems and an indication to call their provider.
Today, maternal health providers, birthing hospitals and social service agencies throughout Missouri can order FREE Count the Kicks educational materials on this link to start using these materials in their practices right away. Moms everywhere can download the FREE Count the Kicks app which is available in the Google Play and iTunes online stores. The app allows expectant moms to monitor their baby’s movement, record the history, set a daily reminder, count for single babies and twins and will be available in 10 languages soon.
The app already helped save at least three Iowa babies so far this year. Doctors say they’re babies who might not otherwise be here if it weren’t for the simple and effective method of tracking baby’s movements in the third trimester. This is exactly the kind of success we want in Missouri — and success to us means saving babies.
By Dr. Randall Williams, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director