How this ‘Count the Kicks’ app saved the life of our newborn How this ‘Count the Kicks’ app saved the life of our newborn
A simple phone have is to thank for the recent events involving a child’s life in Iowa DES MOINES — The Count the Kicks app... How this ‘Count the Kicks’ app saved the life of our newborn

A simple phone have is to thank for the recent events involving a child’s life in Iowa

DES MOINES — The Count the Kicks app on this Iowa mom’s phone is no game — it’s a lifesaver.

Without it, Emily Eekhoff probably would have buried her baby girl three weeks ago instead of cuddling her in front of TV cameras at Des Moines’ Mercy Medical Center on Tuesday.

The app helps women keep track of how active their babies are in the last three months of pregnancy. A sudden lack of activity can indicate dangerous complications. That’s exactly what happened in Eekhoff’s case.

“I think God was looking out for us that day, and we had tools to know when to come in and get help when we needed it,” Eekhoff, 26, said Tuesday.

The Count the Kicks program was created by five Iowa women who suffered stillbirths. The program encourages women in the third trimester of pregnancy to measure how long it takes them to feel 10 kicks. It offers a free downloadable app for Apple and Android phones, to help mothers keep track of their results.

Stillbirth is the loss of a baby before or during delivery generally after 20 weeks of pregnancy, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 24,000 babies are stillborn in the U.S. each year, which effects about 1% of all U.S. pregnancies, the CDC said.

Eekhoff used the app to follow her baby’s movements in her second pregnancy. It usually took less than 10 minutes for her to feel 10 kicks. But when she sat down to count kicks May 30, she could hardly feel any.

“Even the kicks I felt were soft, subtle — not normal,” she said.

She tried several times to feel for kicks, using techniques suggested by the group to encourage a baby to move. But she still felt little activity. When her husband, Jeremy, came home from work, she told him of her concerns. They decided to head to Mercy, where tests quickly confirmed that her baby was in trouble. A doctor performed an emergency cesarean section, lifted the baby out — and found that she had her umbilical cord wrapped three times around her neck.

Dr. Neil Mandsager, a physician who specializes in high-risk pregnancies, said Tuesday that the baby, Ruby, probably would have died within a day if her mom hadn’t noticed she was barely moving.

Instead, Ruby was born healthy at 33 weeks and five days, about six weeks short of the standard 40 weeks. She weighed in at 4 pounds, 3 ounces, and had to spend 20 days in the neonatal intensive care unit, but she’s healthy. The newborn slept through Tuesday’s news conference, which was fine by all in attendance, including her parents and her 2-year-old brother, Liam.

Eekhoff said she also used the Count the Kicks app to check on Liam’s progress during her previous pregnancy. It seemed like such a common-sense thing to do. She figured mothers everywhere were doing it too. She didn’t realize the project had started in Iowa.

“This app has allowed us to reach moms everywhere. We are reaching moms as far away as Russia, the South Pacific, the Middle East,” said Emily Price, executive director of the organization. “We have about 3,000 new app downloads every single month.”

Price, a former TV reporter, has recounted the way the project saved her baby boy in 2010. She noted the project has gained particular attention in Iowa, where its founders included state Sen. Janet Petersen of Des Moines. The program’s popularity in Iowa may be part of the reason the state has seen a 26% decline in stillbirth rates in the last five years, while the rate in the rest of the country has remained steady, Price said.

“If we can reduce the entire country’s stillbirth rate by 26%, as we’ve done here in Iowa, we will save more than 6,000 babies every single year,” she said. “That’s 6,000 families who will have been saved from the heartache of losing their child.”

 

 

Source: USA Today

Nkasiobi Chukwu

  • Courtney

    2017-06-22 #1 Author

    Counting kicks are soooooo important! No matter how insignificant it may seem, if you are concerned, go to the hospital!!

    Reply

  • Shelia Jackson

    2017-06-22 #2 Author

    This is very important if I wouldn’t have counted mines I wouldn’t have known that he wasn’t moving enough and I wouldn’t be blessed with the love of my life.

    Reply

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