Mississippi mom uses ‘Count the Kicks’, saves her baby’s life

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JANS – A free prenatal tool available to expectant parents in Mississippi is credited with saving the life of a Jackson baby. When Kelsey Dryden heard about Count the Kicks in her second trimester of pregnancy, she immediately began paying more attention to her baby’s movement patterns. Count the Kicks is a public health program that teaches expectant parents a way to become familiar with their baby’s normal movement patterns. Many doctors recommend using this method daily starting at 28 weeks of pregnancy. After monitoring her baby’s movement patterns for several weeks, Kelsey became concerned that her baby wasn’t moving as much as normal. 

“When I reached 26 weeks there was a nagging feeling that I could not take anymore, I had to gain peace of mind. I called the hospital for a wellness check,” Kelsey said.

Kelsey and her baby were closely monitored at the hospital, and while everything looked fine at first, Kelsey kept telling her providers that something felt off. She was also experiencing tightness in her chest. “At 10 p.m. my doctor came in and told me that my baby’s best chance at life was to have an emergency C-section, because they didn’t know what was wrong, but they knew something wasn’t right,” she said.

Baby Callum was born at 26 weeks, weighing 1 pound and 12 ounces, and had an 80-day NICU stay. “There was a blood clot behind his placenta that was causing him distress, and they determined this was the root of his movement change. If I hadn’t seen the Count the Kicks Instagram page, Callum wouldn’t be here today,” Kelsey said.

The Count the Kicks program is made possible by funds from the Mississippi State Department of Health, which partnered with the program last year. Through the partnership, maternal health providers, birthing hospitals, social service agencies, childbirth educators, and other providers in Mississippi can order free Count the Kicks educational materials (available at www.CountTheKicks.org) to help them have a conversation about getting to know their baby’s normal movement patterns in the third trimester of pregnancy.

By helping expectant parents get to know their baby’s normal movement patterns in the third trimester, Count the Kicks empowers expectant parents to speak up if their baby’s normal movement ever changes. Regular use of the app is proven to improve birth outcomes for moms and babies. In addition, 77% of app users report using the app daily helped to decrease their anxiety about the well-being of their baby. 

The CDC lists a change in baby’s movements as one of its 15 urgent maternal warning signs, and research proves the importance of monitoring fetal movement. The free Count the Kicks app provides a simple way for expectant parents to track how long it takes their baby to move 10 times each day and rate the strength of their baby’s movements. When the strength of movement or the amount of time it takes to get to 10 movements changes, this could be a sign of potential problems and is an indication to call their provider.

Every year in the U.S. an average of 21,745 babies are stillborn according to the CDC, and Mississippi has the highest stillbirth rate in the country (10.69 per 1,000 live births). For Mississippi families, 1 in every 96 pregnancies ends in stillbirth. Racial disparities persist, and a disproportionate number of babies are born still to Black, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, and American Indian or Alaska Native families. Through this collaboration, the organizations hope to reduce the stillbirth rate in Mississippi by 30% as they have seen in Iowa, which would save approximately 124 babies in the state each year. 

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Mississippi mom uses ‘Count the Kicks’, saves her baby’s life

By Jackson Advocate News Service
March 11, 2024