Mississippi State Department of Health Partners with Count the Kicks to Address Stillbirth Crisis

Published 1:14 pm Tuesday, August 8, 2023

The Mississippi State Department of Health is joining forces with Count the Kicks, a stillbirth prevention program, to raise awareness among expectant parents about the importance of monitoring their baby’s movements during the third trimester of pregnancy.

Mississippi has the highest stillbirth rate in the United States, with 10.69 stillbirths per 1,000 live births. Approximately 1 in every 96 pregnancies in Mississippi results in stillbirth.

Stillbirth, defined as the loss of a baby at 20 weeks or later during pregnancy, constitutes a nationwide public health crisis affecting over 21,000 families annually in the U.S. Studies indicate that nearly 30% of these stillbirths can be prevented through the education of expectant parents on monitoring baby movements.

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Count the Kicks offers a free app, accessible on iOS and Google Play app stores, which provides a simple and non-invasive means for expectant parents to familiarize themselves with their baby’s normal movement patterns.

Research underscores that changes in a baby’s movements during the third trimester serve as an early warning sign. Count the Kicks enables expectant parents to enhance their baby’s safety by recognizing variations in movement patterns. Over a few days of app use, expectant parents establish a pattern of their baby’s time to reach 10 movements. Any deviations from this “normal” during the third trimester could indicate potential issues, necessitating a call to their healthcare provider.

The Mississippi State Department of Health’s collaboration with Count the Kicks enables maternal health providers, birthing hospitals, and other stakeholders in Mississippi to access free Count the Kicks educational materials through www.CountTheKicks.org.

CDC data shows, approximately 387 babies in Mississippi are stillborn annually.

Recent research published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology highlights a more than 30% reduction in Iowa’s stillbirth rate within the first decade of implementing the Count the Kicks program. This reduction occurred while the U.S. stillbirth rate remained stagnant, prompting calls for national action and further study of Count the Kicks. Through this partnership, the Mississippi State Department of Health aims to replicate these successes, potentially saving around 124 babies in the state each year.