(Ohio) – When Chrissy Soughton downloaded the Count the Kicks app she had no idea the free app would save her daughter’s life.
Stoughton learned about the Count the Kicks app through a coworker at the Ohio Department of Health. “At first, I thought, I’ve done so well, what could go wrong,’ but I decided I should follow through and made sure I counted Magdalena’s kicks.”
Stoughton explained that around week 36 she got more relaxed and wasn’t counting kicks as regularly, but told her self starting the following week she needed to be more diligent and stick to it. “I thank God that I got back on track and had a second chance.” She was in her ninth month of pregnancy when she noticed her little girl’s movements took longer than usual to get to 10 daily movements and that they weren’t as strong and so she made the life-saving decision to tell her doctor during an appointment that day. Her provider ran tests and made arrangements and the then, 42-year-old Stoughton, was rushed in to deliver her baby immediately. “I began to cry and asked what was wrong with her, and he calmed me down and told me that I needed to go straight to labor and delivery, to not stop anywhere and that the hospital has already been called and they were waiting for me.”
They immediately prepped Stoughton for an emergency C-section and her husband made it to the hospital to see the birth just in time. “The entire process went so fast that I didn’t have any time to think about what was happening. I just remember hearing her cry and thinking it was the most beautiful sound a mother could ever hear, and I cried knowing that it could have ended differently.”
Magdalena’s umbilical cord was taken for testing and it was suggested that it had begun to fail on her, and she wasn’t getting what she needed. “I thank God that I decided to get back on track and count her kicks. One day of not counting can mean the difference when saving your baby’s life. It is so important to count those kicks daily. I thank God for Magdalena, my little miracle baby.”
One out of every 167 pregnancies in the U.S. ends in stillbirth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Count the Kicks teaches a method for, and importance of, tracking fetal movement during the third trimester of pregnancy. Scientific studies show the benefits of expectant moms tracking their baby’s movements once a day during the third trimester and learning how long it normally takes their baby to get to 10 movements. Moms will start to notice a pattern, a normal amount of time it takes their baby to get to 10 movements. If “normal” changes during the third trimester, this could be a sign of potential problems and an indication that the expectant mom should call her healthcare provider.
“Moms are the best evaluators of their baby’s status and educating them about kick counts is a path to preventing stillbirth,” said ODH Director Amy Acton, MD, MPH. “Through this campaign, we are offering free Count the Kicks resources to expectant moms and the healthcare providers and other professionals who interact with them.”
The free resources include educational materials and a Count the Kicks phone app available in the Google Play and iTunes online stores. The app, which is available in 10 languages, allows an expectant mom to monitor her baby’s movement, record the history, set a daily reminder, and count for single babies and twins. Providers like maternal health providers, birthing hospitals, and social services agencies can order free Count the Kicks educational materials at www.countthekicks.org to use with expectant moms.