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| LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas – The Arkansas Department of Health and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) are collaborating with Count the kicksan evidence-based stillbirth prevention campaign to educate expectant parents in Arkansas on the importance of monitoring a baby’s movements daily in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Stillbirth is a national public health crisis that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. For Arkansas families, 1 in 138 pregnancies end in stillbirth, and families in the state are 10 times more likely to lose a baby to stillbirth than to SIDS. Recent data shows the devastating impact of COVID-19 on placentas and newborns. Doctors have discovered what they call SARS-CoV-2 placentitis, a condition in which the virus attacks the placenta and cuts off oxygen to the baby.
In the United States the annual number of stillbirths (defined as the loss of a baby 20 weeks or more during pregnancy) far exceeds the number of deaths among children aged 0-14 from preterm births , SIDS, accidents, drownings, guns, fire and flu combined. Research shows that nearly 30% of stillbirths can be prevented when expectant parents are educated on the importance of monitoring their baby’s movements every day starting at 28 weeks.
Research shows that a change in a baby’s movements in the third trimester is an early red flag. Using Count the kicksexpectant parents can increase the chances of their baby arriving safely. Count the kicks has a free app available in the iOS and Google Play app stores that provides expectant parents with an easy, non-invasive way to monitor their children’s well-being every day. After a few days of using the app, expectant parents start to see a pattern—a normal amount of time it takes for their child to get to 10 movements. If their baby’s “normality” changes during the third trimester, this could be a sign of potential problems and is an indication that the expectant parent should call their doctor.
Fort Smith mom Elaina Murry knows firsthand the importance of paying attention to her baby’s movements. She was using the Count the kicks app, and about a month before its due date, Murry noticed that Zelda’s movements change significantly. Murry told his doctor about it, and after more testing, they agreed to deliver Zelda early.
“Although her non-stress test looked fine, her restricted movements were a harbinger of fetal distress. She was found with the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around her neck twice, which prevented her from coming out of the breech position and would likely have led to significant complications if we had delayed the delivery much longer,” Murry said. After giving birth, Murry’s suppliers discovered a problem with her placenta that was also contributing to Zelda’s distress.” Using the Count the kicks app was definitely a good choice. The app was a big part of my last few days of pregnancy and contributed to the big picture of the need to deliver early for both her health and mine.
By partnering with ADH and UAMS, maternal health care providers, birthing hospitals, home visitors, social service agencies, childbirth educators and other providers in Arkansas can order FREE Count the kicks educational material (available at www.CountTheKicks.org) to help them have a conversation about counting kicks with expectant parents. These materials include posters, brochures, and app download cards in English and Spanish.
“The Arkansas Department of Health is committed to improving birth outcomes for families in our state, and we believe Count the kicks provides a solution to help save children now. We encourage anyone working with expecting parents to order free Count the kicks educational materials to share with the communities you serve. Together we can help more families in our state have a healthy birth outcome,” said William Greenfield, MD, MBA, FACOG, medical director for family health at the Arkansas Department of Health and professor in the Department of Obstetrics and gynecology of the UAMS.
“We are very excited to partner with the Department of Health and Count the Kicks to bring this program to Arkansas moms,” said Nirvana Manning, MD, NCMP, FACOG, UAMS Director for the Women and Infant’s Health Service Line at UAMS. “The smartphone app is very easy to use and offers tremendous peace of mind knowing your baby is healthy in the final weeks of your pregnancy. We hope to bring about similar results in Arkansas as they experienced in Iowa and reduce the number of stillbirths in our state.
According to CDC Wonder, approximately 268 Arkansas babies are stillborn each year.4 In Iowa, where Count the kicks started, the state’s stillbirth rate fell by nearly 32 percent in the first 10 years of the campaign (2008-2018). Iowa’s rate dropped from the 33rd worst in the country to one of the lowest, while the country’s stillbirth rate remained relatively flat. Through this partnership, ADH hopes to bring the same success story to Arkansas, which would save approximately 86 children in the state each year.5
CDC data shows that each year in the United States, about 700 women will die from complications of childbirth and 22,300 babies will be stillborn. The risk is even greater for black women who, according to the CDC, are twice as likely to lose a baby to stillbirth as their white neighbor, colleague or friend. Black women are also three times more likely to die from pregnancy complications. For black women in the United States, 1 in 97 pregnancies end in stillbirth.
To learn more about this partnership, join a free webinar at 12:00 noon CST on February 2. To register for this free event, visit bit.ly/ArkansasCTK extension. Continuing education will be available.
Of Count the kicks
The Count the kicks public health campaign is a project of Healthy Birthday, Inc.a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to stillbirth prevention. Count the kicks has a growing network of doctors, nurses, hospitals and support clinics in 22 states that give Count the kicks materials to their patients. Count the kicks appeared in Good Morning America, The Washington Post, Sunday Night Football and O Magazine, and produced a national PSA that generated more than 300 million views. Count the kicks has more than 110 stories from families across the country who wrote in to share how they used Count the kicks to help their baby have a healthy birth day. The free Count the kicks app, available in 16 languages, has been downloaded more than 200,000 times in all 50 states and more than 140 countries. Learn more about our vision to save 7,500 babies each year and improve birth outcomes everywhere at CountTheKicks.org.
UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of medicine, nursing, pharmacy, health professions, and public health; a graduate school; an hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute, and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a state health system that includes all of UAMS’s clinical practice. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,240 students, 913 medical residents and fellows, and five dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide patient care at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, VA Medical Center, and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, ChirpingYouTube or Instagram.