• Pregnant woman resting her hands on her belly

Count the Kicks Program Expands To Michigan

  • Kimberly Isburg
  • 05.10.24

We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Division of Maternal and Infant Health, which will improve maternal health and birth outcomes for Michigan families through the Count the Kicks stillbirth prevention program. We will work with MDHHS to educate expectant parents in Michigan about the importance of paying attention to their baby’s movements in the third trimester of pregnancy.

“Programs such as Count the Kicks can provide women with tools to speak about their pregnancy experiences with their loved ones and their health care providers,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “Having dialogue around pregnancy symptoms and experiences can sometimes identify early warning signs.”

The MDHHS Division of Maternal and Infant Health is working with maternal health providers, birthing hospitals, social service agencies, childbirth educators and other providers in Michigan to assist them in ordering Count the Kicks educational materials. Providers can use these resources to help them discuss baby movement patterns with expectant parents. These materials are available in Arabic, English and Spanish. The partnership is another effort to reach the Advancing Healthy Births vision of zero preventable deaths and zero health disparities.

Stillbirth is commonly defined as the loss of a baby at 20 weeks or greater gestation during pregnancy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 626 Michigan families experience the tragedy of stillbirth each year. One in every 173 pregnancies in Michigan ends in stillbirth.

Racial disparities persist, and a disproportionate number of babies are stillborn to Black, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander and American Indian or Alaska Native families. Some of the factors that may contribute to disparities in birth outcomes include differences in preconception health, access to quality health care, as well as stress – factors that are also associated with other poor pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm births.

Research published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology shows a more than 30% reduction in Iowa’s stillbirth rate in the first 10 years of the state using the Count the Kicks stillbirth prevention program at a time when America’s stillbirth rate remained stagnant.

For more information about the Division of Maternal and Infant Health, please visit Maternal & Infant Health (michigan.gov).


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