Yelly Sarah Coulibaly never expected that downloading the Count the Kicks app to monitor her baby’s movements during pregnancy would help save her daughter’s life. Yelly Sarah, a resident of Overland Park, Kansas, received a Count the Kicks brochure from her provider at her 28-week prenatal appointment and started using the Count the Kicks app right away to track her daughter Eva’s movements.
She noticed a change in her baby’s movement a few days after her 36-week appointment. After noticing her baby wasn’t moving as much and that it was taking a lot longer than usual to get 10 movements, Yelly Sarah brought it up to her provider.
“She ordered an ultrasound and it was discovered that I had almost no amniotic fluid. I was sent to the hospital and induced the same day. My daughter [Eva] was born Sept. 2, 2020 at 37 weeks 1 day, and although she’s on the small side, she is healthy,” she said. “I am very grateful that Count the Kicks made me aware of the importance of paying close attention to baby’s movements and also that my provider took my concerns seriously and took action.”
Count the Kicks, an evidence-based public health campaign, educates and empowers expectant parents to track their baby’s movements in the third trimester of pregnancy. Research shows a change in a baby’s movements could be the earliest, and sometimes only indication that something may be wrong with a pregnancy.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when expectant parents may be seeing their provider less frequently, Count the Kicks acts as an early warning system for parents and providers to determine when a baby may be in distress.
Thanks to a partnership with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Bureau of Family Health, nurses, doctors, hospital staff and other providers have been able to order free Count the Kicks brochures, app reminder cards, and posters to place in offices that care for pregnant patients and to share with expectant parents since 2018.
KDHE, along with many other organizations in Kansas, are committed to reducing stillbirths through increasing awareness and community intervention.
“We look forward to continuing to make these materials available at no cost to support healthy pregnancy outcomes. Our focus right now is expanding reach to new providers and parents across the state,” said Rachel Sisson, Bureau Director for the Bureau of Family Health at KDHE.
Research indicates that keeping a daily record of a baby’s movement is an easy, free, reliable way to monitor a baby’s well-being in addition to regular prenatal visits. After a few sessions on the free Count the Kicks app, parents will start to notice a normal movement pattern for their baby. Changes to that pattern can indicate potential issues with the pregnancy, and parents are encouraged to contact their healthcare provider right away.
Kick counting data within the app can even be emailed or texted directly to providers — a helpful way to determine the next best steps for mom and baby during this ongoing public health crisis. Every year in the U.S. 24,000 babies are born still, according to the CDC. Stillbirth affects every 1 in 167 pregnancies in the U.S.