COLUMBUS – Cathleen Wolff never expected that downloading the Count the Kicks app to monitor her baby’s movements during pregnancy would help save her daughter’s life. Cathleen learned about Count the Kicks through educational materials provided by the Ohio Department of Health and discussed the importance of tracking her baby’s movements with her doctor. Recently, she was in her eighth month of pregnancy when she noticed a change in her baby’s normal movements — a significant development that needed to be addressed.
After noticing it was taking her baby longer than usual to get to 10 movements and that her baby’s movements weren’t as strong as usual, Cathleen alerted her doctor who started testing right away and determined her baby would need to be delivered.
“It was immediately discovered that Margot had a complete knot in her cord, that the cord was wrapped around her neck two times, and her hands were also tethered by the cord. Thankfully, she was healthy and after a very brief stay in the NICU was able to come home to our family,” Cathleen said. “I am very fortunate that my OB office shared the Count the Kicks information with me - through posters on the room walls and a brochure, as it encouraged me to download and regularly use the Count the Kicks app, which is how I knew that my baby’s normal movement pattern had changed.”
Count the Kicks, an evidence-based public health campaign, educates and empowers expectant parents to track their baby’s movements in the third trimester of pregnancy. Research shows a change in a baby’s movements could be the earliest, and sometimes only indication that something may be wrong with a pregnancy. Thanks to a partnership with the Ohio Department of Health, nurses, doctors and hospital staff have been able to order free Count the Kicks brochures, app download reminder cards, and posters to place in offices that care for pregnant patients and to share with expectant parents since 2018.
Ohio Department of Health, along with many other organizations in Ohio, are committed to reducing stillbirths through increasing awareness and community intervention. This is the second baby that we know of to be saved in Ohio through the Count the Kicks awareness campaign.
“Count the Kicks is a powerful tool in helping mothers evaluate and track their baby’s movement,” said Ohio Department of Health Maternal, Child, and Family Health Bureau Chief Dyane Gogan Turner. “Mothers are in a unique position to feel changes in their pregnancy, and Count the Kicks empowers them with a method to better track and document these changes for health experts who may be able to help. We are so excited to know that these resources were able to help save a life and hope they will save many more.”
Research indicates that keeping a daily record of a baby’s movement — including kicks, rolls, punches and jabs — is an easy, free, reliable way to monitor a baby’s well-being in addition to regular prenatal visits. After a few sessions on the free Count the Kicks app, parents will start to notice a normal movement pattern for their baby.
Changes to that pattern can indicate potential issues with the pregnancy. Parents who notice a change should call their healthcare provider immediately. Every year in the U.S. 24,000 babies are born still, according to the CDC. Stillbirth affects every 1 in 167 pregnancies in the U.S.