Covenant HealthCare and THRIVE Launch Stillbirth Prevention Campaign in the Region with Michigan’s First Count the Kicks® Campaign

May 16, 2022 — An innovative and simple tool for monitoring babies in the third trimester of pregnancy is coming to the region with a track record of reducing stillbirths by more than 30 percent.

Covenant HealthCare and THRIVE, (Transforming Health Regionally in a Vibrant Economy) an effort of the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance, Inc., have announced they are partnering with Count the Kicks®, an evidence-based stillbirth prevention public health campaign to educate and empower expectant parents in the region about the importance of tracking fetal movement in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Count the Kicks® provides access to a groundbreaking app for mothers who are expecting to monitor their baby’s well-being during the third trimester. Recent research shows the effect of COVID-19 on pregnancies and an increase in poorer birth outcomes, making it an especially important time for expectant women to track their baby’s movements. By doing so, expectant mothers will have the peace of mind to know when something has possibly changed with their baby’s health. The program currently operates in 15 other states across the nation and has shown dramatic results.

Thanks to the partnership, maternal health providers, birthing hospitals, social services agencies, childbirth educators and other providers in Michigan can order free Count the Kicks® educational materials to help them have the kick counting conversation with expectant parents.

“We are proud to lend support to this important initiative,” said Beth Charlton, president and CEO of Covenant HealthCare. “As a regional medical destination for high-risk pregnancies and neonatal intensive care, we know the impact early prenatal care and interventions have on health outcomes. We believe that every expectant mother should have access to health information that can help them and their baby.”

Through this effort, the region is the first community in Michigan to offer the Count the Kicks® initiative. Count the Kicks® takes an innovative approach to preventing stillbirths and will equip local OBGYN and family practice doctors, nurse practitioners and midwives, social service agencies and related community organizations in the region with educational materials and training.

Nationally, 23,500 babies are born still each year and Michigan’s average is 622 stillbirths annually. Count the Kicks® focuses on stillbirth prevention by giving expectant parents an early warning system to monitor their babies’ movement. In Iowa, where Count the Kicks began, the state’s stillbirth rate went down nearly 32% in the first 10 years of the campaign (2008-2018) while rates in the rest of the country remained relatively stagnant.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Covenant HealthCare in this important effort and for the opportunity to help families reach healthy births through a data-driven, evidence-based and easy-to-use platform. These are innovative tools that will help support prenatal and maternal health in our region,” said Jameca Patrick-Singleton, MSW, executive director of Community Impact and Strategic Partnerships for MiHIA. “This work enhances our efforts to advance infant, child and maternal health in the region and will have a lasting impact for families for generations to come.”

Count the Kicks® is an evidence-based prevention campaign that gives expectant mothers guidance to observe and track the activity of their unborn child during the third trimester. The app provides mothers with the confidence and information to seek medical intervention if they notice or feel that something is not right with their pregnancy. In addition to reducing stillbirths, 84 percent of Count the Kicks® app users who count daily report that this method helped with bonding during pregnancy and 77 percent reported that this method helps reduce anxiety.

Count the Kicks® also has a free app available in the iOS and Google Play app stores that provides expectant moms a simple, non-invasive way to monitor their baby’s well-being every day. The Count the Kicks® app is available in 14 languages, including English and Spanish, and its features include a kick-counting history, daily reminders and the ability to count for single babies and twins.

More information can be found at www.countthekicks.org.

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