KDHE partners with parents and providers to improve birth outcomes
TOPEKA – This Mother’s Day, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), Bureau of Family Health is partnering with Count the Kicks, an evidence-based stillbirth prevention campaign. The goal of Count the Kicks is to improve birth outcomes by educating expectant parents and providers about the importance of tracking fetal movement in the third trimester of pregnancy. According to Kansas Vital Statistics, one out of every 179 pregnancies* ends in stillbirth. That equates to approximately 210 babies born still each year.
“The Bureau of Family Health is committed to working closely with partners and organizations to support the healthiest outcomes for mothers and infants,” said Rachel Sisson, Director of the Bureau of Family Health at KDHE. “We are proud to support evidence-based prevention programs such as Count the Kicks, and we have heard from Kansas moms that this campaign has made a difference in their lives.”
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 guide them through the kick-counting conversation with expectant parents.
Count the Kicks also has a free app available in the iOS and Google Play app stores, giving expectant moms a simple, non-invasive way to monitor their baby’s well-being every day. The Count the Kicks app is available in 12 languages, including English, Spanish and Haitian-Creole. Features include kick-counting history, daily reminders and option to count for twins. Nearly 2,100 Kansas moms have downloaded the app.
Count the Kicks teaches the method for, and importance of, tracking fetal movement during the third trimester of pregnancy. Research shows the benefits of expectant moms tracking their baby’s movements daily and learning how long it normally takes their baby to get to 10 movements. After a few days, moms will begin to see a pattern, a normal amount of time it takes their baby to get to 10 movements. If their baby’s “normal” changes during the third trimester, this could be a sign of potential problems and an indication that a call should be made to the health care provider.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, expectant moms have reported changes to their regularly scheduled prenatal visits and an increase in telehealth visits. Now is an especially important time for moms to track their baby’s movements every day in the third trimester. By doing so, moms will have the peace of mind to know when things are okay and when things have changed.
In Iowa, where Count the Kicks began, the state’s stillbirth rate dropped by nearly 32 percent in the first 10 years of the campaign (2008-2018). Iowa’s stillbirth rate was one of the highest in the country and is now one of the lowest. KDHE is hoping to bring the same success that Iowa has seen to Kansas which would save approximately 58 babies each year.
About Kansas Department of Health and Environment Bureau of Family Health
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s mission is to protect and improve the health and environment of all Kansans. The Bureau of Family Health within the Division of Public Health provides leadership to enhance the health of Kansas women, men, children, and families through partnerships with providers and communities. The Bureau administers the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) programming for Kansas, which includes improving maternal and infant health. Find more information about KDHE and the Bureau of Family Health at: www.kdheks.gov/bfh/index.html.
About Count the Kicks
Healthy Birth Day, Inc. is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that created the Count the Kicks public health campaign. Count the Kicks has been featured on Good Morning America, Inside Edition and in O Magazine. Count the Kicks has more than 75 baby-save stories from moms in 24 states around the country who have written in to share how they used Count the Kicks to help save their baby’s life. B-Roll of the Count the Kicks app in use is available upon request. For media interviews or to learn more about the Count the Kicks campaign, please contact Kimberly Isburg at 515-494-5115 or at [email protected].
 Number based on dividing 1,000 by the 5-year average stillbirth rate. Stillbirth data from KDHE Bureau of Epidemiology & Public Health Informatics. Stillbirths do not include abortions.
 Number based on the 5-year average stillbirth numbers, total stillbirth data from KDHE Bureau of Epidemiology & Public Health Informatics. Stillbirths do not include abortions.
 Number based on 5-year average stillbirth rate, multiplied by the 32% reduction seen in Iowa. Stillbirth data is from Kansas Vital Statistics. Note stillbirth rate is calculated by: Fetal Deaths/(Total of Live Births + Fetal Deaths)*1,000.
*Pregnancies does not include abortions, only live births, and stillbirths.