COLUMBUS -- Chrissy Stoughton never expected that downloading the Count the Kicks app to monitor her baby’s movements during pregnancy would help save her daughter’s life.
Stoughton learned about Count the Kicks through her work at the Ohio Department of Health, and also discussed it with her doctor. In 2018, she was in her ninth month of pregnancy when she noticed a change in her baby’s normal movements — a significant development that needed to be addressed.
After noticing it was taking her baby longer than usual to get to 10 movements and that those movements weren’t as strong as usual, Stoughton mentioned it at her doctor’s appointment that day. Her provider started testing right away, and determined her baby would need to be delivered immediately.
“The entire process went so fast that I didn’t have any time to think about what was happening. I just remember hearing her cry and thinking it was the most beautiful sound a mother could ever hear, and I cried knowing that it could have ended differently,” Stoughton said. “Magdalena’s umbilical cord was taken for testing and it was suggested that it had begun to fail on her, and she wasn’t getting what she needed.
"I thank God that I decided to get back on track and count her kicks. One day of not counting can mean the difference when saving your baby’s life. It is so important to count those kicks daily.”
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.
Thanks to a partnership with the Ohio Department of Health, nurses, doctors and hospital staff have been able to order free Count the Kicks brochures, app download reminder cards, and posters to place in offices that care for pregnant patients and to share with expectant parents since 2018.
Ohio Department of Health, along with many other organizations in Ohio, are committed to reducing stillbirths through increasing awareness and community intervention.
“Count the Kicks is a powerful tool in helping mothers evaluate and track their baby’s movement,” said Ohio Department of Health Maternal, Child, and Family Health Bureau Chief Dyane Gogan Turner. “Mothers are in a unique position to feel changes in their pregnancy, and Count the Kicks empowers them with a method to better track and document these changes for health experts who may be able to help. We are so excited to know that these resources were able to help save a life, and hope they will save many more.”
Research indicates that keeping a daily record of a baby’s movement — including kicks, rolls, punches and jabs — 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. Parents who notice a change should call their healthcare provider immediately.
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.
About Count the Kicks
Healthy Birth Day, Inc., the nonprofit that created Count the Kicks, currently has a growing network of supportive doctors, nurses, hospitals and clinics that give Count the Kicks materials to their patients. We have a free Count the Kicks app in Google Play and iOS app stores that is available in 12 languages and has been downloaded more than 115,000 times in all 50 U.S. states, and more 140 other countries. The app allows expectant parents to monitor their baby’s movement, record the history, set a daily reminder, count for twins and more. Count the Kicks has Ambassadors in 30 U.S. states (including Kari Davis and DaShonda Watkins in Ohio), plus Washington, D.C., Canada and India. We have appeared on Good Morning America, in O Magazine, and produced a national PSA that has generated more than 300 million viewer impressions.
In the first 10 years of the Count the Kicks campaign in Iowa (2008-2018), the state’s stillbirth rate decreased nearly 32 percent, according to the CDC. In the same timeframe, the stillbirth rate in the U.S. as a whole has remained stagnant. Learn more about our mission to save 7,500 babies every year and improve birth outcomes everywhere at CountTheKicks.org.