June 20, 2018

Effective stillbirth prevention campaign launches in Missouri

Goal to save 119 Missouri babies every year, reducing the stillbirth rate by 26 percent

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is announcing a partnership with Count the Kicks, a proven stillbirth prevention public health campaign. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Missouri has the 21st highest stillbirth rate in the country. 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.

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.

Particular efforts will be made to eliminate racial disparities while lowering the overall stillbirth rate. Nationally and across Missouri, African American women are more than twice as likely to lose a baby to stillbirth as the general population of pregnant women.

\"As a former practicing obstetrician, I know the power of this simple but highly effective method of kick counting and educated my patients on this during the third trimester of pregnancy as something mothers can do to help keep their baby safe. Stillbirth affects one in every 167 pregnancies. I encourage all Missouri health providers to order Count the Kicks educational materials today and let them spark the kick counting conversation with patients,\" said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director.

Thanks to DHSS, maternal health providers, birthing hospitals and social service agencies throughout Missouri can order FREE Count the Kicks educational materials at www.countthekicks.org and can 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, which is available in English and Spanish, allows expectant moms to monitor their baby's movement, record the history, set a daily reminder and count for single babies and twins. The app already helped save three Iowa babies so far this year.

A formal announcement about the partnership will occur on Thursday, June 21 at 10:45 a.m. during the Quarterly Coalition meeting of Generate HealthSTL.org at The Heights, 8001 Dale Ave., St. Louis, Mo 63117.

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.

Healthy Birth Day, Inc. is the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that created the Count the Kicks public health campaign.