News Releases

News Releases

DHEC Advises Expectant Parents to Monitor Baby Health by ‘Counting the Kicks’

May 9, 2024

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is committed to improving birth outcomes for all South Carolina families. As part of this effort, DHEC is encouraging expectant parents to “Count the Kicks” this Mother’s Day to help monitor their babies’ health and well-being.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 700 women die from pregnancy or delivery complications and about 21,000 babies are stillborn in the United States every year. Stillbirth is defined as the death of a baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy or during delivery and affects one in every 167 pregnancies nationally and is 10 times more common than sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Fortunately, there are steps that expectant parents can take to promote a healthy pregnancy and baby.

Count the Kicks is a national, evidence-based stillbirth prevention campaign focused on providing educational resources to healthcare providers and expectant parents.

“Any twist, kick, turn, flutter, or swish counts,” said Danielle Wingo, Director of DHEC’s Bureau of Maternal and Child Health. “Tracking fetal movement during pregnancy is not only an easy way to enhance the bonding experience for mom and baby, it is also a simple indicator of fetal health that can be monitored at any time of the day. We encourage moms to make the most of these precious moments.

Counting kicks is a simple way to monitor a baby’s well-being. The Count the Kicks initiative reports that nearly 30% of stillbirths can be prevented when expectant parents are educated on the importance of tracking their baby’s movements daily starting in the third trimester, at around 28 weeks. Expectant dads can be an important part of counting as well, and DHEC encourages all parents to take part.

Count the Kicks has a free mobile phone app that provides expectant parents a simple way to count their baby’s kicks every day. After a few days using the app or counting on a paper chart, expectant parents will begin to see a pattern with their baby’s movements. If that pattern changes during the third trimester, this could be a sign of potential problems and is an indication to call a healthcare provider right away or go to the hospital for monitoring. Learn more about Count the Kicks and free monitoring app, which is available in 14 languages, at

Maternal health providers, birthing hospitals, social services agencies, childbirth educators and other providers across our state can order free Count the Kicks educational materials from to help them educate expectant parents on the method for and importance of kick counting.

To find more information about resources offered by DHEC’s Bureau of Maternal and Child, visit



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