Health Plan of Nevada (HPN) is collaborating with Count the Kicks, an evidence-based stillbirth prevention campaign, to address the ongoing maternal health crisis and improve birth outcomes for Nevada mothers and their newborns. During National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in October, HPN and Count the Kicks are working together to raise awareness about this important issue and share the resources and tools available to pregnant and expectant mothers through the Count the Kicks program.

According to the World Health Organization, the United States is the only developed country with a consistently rising maternal mortality rate. Furthermore, CDC data shows that every year, approximately 700 women die from childbirth complications and 23,500 babies are stillborn in the U.S. The data also shows that Black women are twice as likely to lose a baby to stillbirth and three times more likely to die of pregnancy complications. The COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to exacerbate what was already broken with recent research showing increases in stillbirths and maternal deaths since the pandemic began.[1]

Stillbirth, defined as the loss of a pregnancy between 20- and 42-weeks’ gestation, affects one in every 169 pregnancies nationally, making it 10 times more common than sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). For women who experience a stillbirth, maternal morbidity is almost five times more common than it is for women who have live births. In the state of Nevada 245 babies are stillborn each year.[2]

Beginning in the third trimester, expectant parents can get to know their baby’s normal movement pattern by having a daily kick counting session using the FREE Count the Kicks app, which is available in 12 languages in the iOS and Google Play app stores. Research shows a change in a baby’s movement can be the earliest, and sometimes only, indication there might be an issue with a pregnancy. When the amount of time it takes to get to 10 movements changes, it can be a red flag for potential problems with mom or baby, and is an indication that the expectant parent should call their medical provider right away.

The Count the Kicks app is a powerful tool to help expectant parents be more in tune with their bodies and their babies. The data in the app acts as an early warning system for expectant parents so they can let their providers know when something feels off. Kick counting data within the app can even be emailed or texted directly to providers — a helpful way to determine the next best steps for mom and baby when going in may increase the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

“Health Plan of Nevada wants every mother and baby to have a happy, healthy delivery day,” said Dr. Laurine Tibaldi, Health Plan of Nevada’s Chief Medical Officer. “Through this partnership, we hope to improve birth outcomes and prevent stillbirths in Nevada by offering our expectant moms access to the resources and tools available through Count the Kicks. We encourage all pregnant and expectant mothers to learn more about this easy-to-use app. This is a useful tool that provides vital information and we are happy to help share it with women across the state.”

“It is more important than ever for expectant parents and medical providers to have regular conversations about fetal movement throughout the third trimester. Our campaign provides the tools and resources needed to facilitate this conversation. We are thankful to be partnering with Health Plan of Nevada to get this important message to expectant parents and maternal healthcare providers in Nevada,” said Emily Price, Healthy Birth Day, Inc. Executive Director.

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) and in the first five years the African American stillbirth rate decreased nearly 39 percent; all while the rest of the country remained relatively stagnant. If the Count the Kicks sees similar success in states nationwide, the impact could be the healthy delivery of 7,500 more babies each year.

[1]Chmielewska, B, Barratt, I, Townsend, R, et al. “Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes: a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” The Lancet, vol. 9, no. 6, 2021, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(21)00079-6.

2 Based on a 5-year average from CDC Wonder (2015-2019).