DHEC Encourages Expectant Parents to Monitor Baby Health by ‘Counting the Kicks’
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 5, 2022
COLUMBIA, S.C. ― The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is committed to improving birth outcomes for South Carolina families. As part of this effort, DHEC is encouraging expectant parents to “Count the Kicks,” this Mother’s Day, to help improve their babies’ health and well-being.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 700 women die from childbirth complications and 23,500 babies are stillborn every year in the United States. Stillbirth is defined as the loss 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.
“Stillbirth remains a significant public health crisis in our country and in our state,” said Kimberly Seals, DHEC Director of the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health. “Every year in South Carolina, we lose nearly 400 babies to stillbirth. And, unfortunately, racial disparities continue to persist, with Black women being two times more likely to lose a baby to stillbirth than White women. DHEC is committed to improving birth outcomes and preventing stillbirths in South Carolina by partnering and supporting initiatives like Count the Kicks.”
Counting kicks is a simple way to monitor a baby’s well-being. The Count the Kicks initiative reports that nearly 30 percent 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.
"By providing proven, evidence-based tools like Count the Kicks to everyone in the third trimester of pregnancy, we are building a community of expectant parents who are in tune with their bodies and their babies,” said Emily Price, Executive Director for Healthy Birth Day, Inc. “This is leading to improved birth outcomes for both the expectant parent and their baby.”
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 www.countthekicks.org.
Maternal health providers, birthing hospitals, social services agencies, childbirth educators and other providers across our state can order free Count the Kicks educational materials available at www.countthekicks.org 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 scdhec.gov/health.