Count the Kicks Campaign Launches in Mississippi
We are thrilled to announce the Mississippi Public Health Association (MPHA) and the Mississippi Perinatal Quality Collaborative (MSPQC) are partnering with us to launch Count the Kicks in the state of Mississippi!
Mississippi has one of the worst stillbirth rates in the country, and the COVID-19 pandemic is making it worse. Last year Mississippi State Department of Health officials reported that stillbirth rates had doubled in Mississippi during the COVID-19 pandemic. On average, one out of every 99 pregnancies in the state ends in stillbirth.
According to Mississippi State Department of Health officials, the state saw 72 fetal deaths in unvaccinated pregnant women infected with the coronavirus during the pandemic, a number double the background rate typically reported. Through this partnership, our organizations will work together to educate expectant parents in Mississippi about Count the Kicks, and the importance of tracking fetal movement daily in the third trimester of pregnancy.
“Reducing the number of stillborn babies in Mississippi is a priority for the Mississippi public health association. Our existing partnerships with the MSPQC and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi have been enhanced by the additional work with the Count the Kicks Campaign. We are excited about this new initiative and what it can mean for mothers and their babies” said Dr. Kaye Bender, Executive Director of the Mississippi Public Health Association.
Thanks to the partnership with MPHA and MSPQC, maternal health providers, birthing hospitals, social service agencies, childbirth educators and other providers in Mississippi can order FREE Count the Kicks educational materials to help them have the kick counting conversation with expectant parents. These materials include posters, brochures, and app download cards in English and Spanish.
Impact of Stillbirth in Mississippi
According to CDC Wonder, approximately 381 Mississippi babies are stillborn each year. Caitlin Ramage, a Count the Kicks Ambassador from Oxford, Miss., knows first-hand the pain of experiencing a stillbirth. “Of my three pregnancies with two Ob-Gyns and a midwife, I was never educated about kick counts. I truly believe if I had been, my middle son Carson would be here with us today,” Caitlin said. “I believe that sharing and educating moms about Count the Kicks is the best way to prevent stillbirth and help more Mississippi families leave the hospital together.”
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). Iowa’s rate went from 33rd worst in the country to one of the lowest, while the country’s stillbirth rate remained relatively flat. Through this collaboration, MPHA and MSPQC are hoping to bring the same success to Mississippi, which would save approximately 122 babies in the state each year.
“Mississippi has a high rate of stillbirth and mothers here deserve the knowledge and tools to protect their babies so they can have healthy birth days, just as my son did,” said Grace Greene, a Jackson, Miss. birth doula and Count the Kicks Ambassador. “I am excited to help raise awareness about Count the Kicks in Mississippi so we can help save mothers and families from terrible heartache.”
Improve Birth Outcomes
Research shows that nearly 30% of stillbirths can be prevented when expectant parents are educated on the importance of tracking their baby’s movements daily starting at 28 weeks. By using Count the Kicks expectant parents can begin to see a pattern, a normal amount of time it takes their baby to get to 10 movements. If their baby’s “normal” changes during the third trimester, this could be a sign of potential problems and is an indication that the expectant parent should call their healthcare provider right away.
You can help us make kick counting a common practice for all expectant parents in Mississippi and beyond by sharing Count the Kicks with expectant parents, healthcare professionals, community organizations, birth workers, and maternal health advocates.
If you know of an organization or healthcare professional in Mississippi that we should connect with, please email us. Together we can save babies and improve birth outcomes!
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