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Pregnancy app helps expectant mothers track fetal movement 

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According to the University of Utah, one in every 165 pregnancies end in still birth across the country, which translates to roughly 24,000 stillbirths a year.  

A stillbirth is defined as the death of an unborn baby in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

Indiana loses nearly 500 babies a year due to still births.  Causes of stillbirth include genetics, financial, emotional, or other personal stressors, issues with the placenta or umbilical cord, and racial disparities. In the United States, stillbirths are more than twice as likely among Black women than among white women. 

To help decrease the number of stillbirths in the state, in 2021 the Indiana Minority Health Coalition and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield partnered with Count the Kicks, an app that allows expectant mothers to track their babies’ fetal movements. 

“We thought it would be a great partnership to partner with Count the Kicks and Anthem after seeing the success that Count the Kicks had in Iowa with their program,” said Lauren Lancaster, the maternal child health manager at the Indiana Minority Health Coalition.  

Count the Kicks is based on public health research in Norway that demonstrated a 30% reduction in stillbirths by teaching pregnant women how to monitor fetal movement during the third trimester of pregnancy. The app’s daily kick counts allow users to count their babies’ fetal movements.

Users will set a timer at the same time everyday within the app and measure how long it takes the baby to reach 10 fetal movements.  

The app tracks the sessions, and users can reach out to their provider if they notice a decrease in fetal movement. 

According to Lori Riester, obstetric practice consultant with Anthem, counting fetal movement is one of the earliest ways for mothers to know if something is wrong. 

“The reason that this Count the Kicks application is so crucial, it’s like a building block for improving help across the board,” Riester said. 

Lancaster said it is important to be “aware of your baby’s fetal movement, if they should decrease.” and seek medical attention.  

“We always just encourage them to continue to go and speak to their provider. If that provider doesn’t listen, try a different provider … their voices deserve to be heard,” Lancaster said. 

Count the Kicks has a free app that comes in 14 different languages and is available in the iOS and Google Play app stores.

It provides expectant moms with a simple, noninvasive way to monitor their babies’ well-being. For those who don’t have access to a mobile device or reliable internet, there are paper charts they can download here. 

 Over its 15 months of availability in Indiana, Count the Kicks has gained 1,000 users, and nearly 100,000 pieces of Count the Kicks educational materials were sent to providers and/or healthcare professionals to share with expectant parents.  

Contact staff writer Timoria Cunningham at 317-762-7854 or timoriac@indyrecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @_timoriac.  

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