RICHMOND, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation is partnering with Count the Kicks, an evidence-based stillbirth prevention program, to educate expectant parents in Virginia about the importance of getting to know their baby’s movement in the third trimester of pregnancy. 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.
Stillbirth (commonly defined as the loss of a baby at 20 weeks or greater during pregnancy) is a national public health crisis that impacts more than 21,000 families in the U.S. every year. For Virginia families, 1 in every 183 pregnancies ends in stillbirth, and families in the state are 6.5 times more likely to lose a baby to stillbirth than to SIDS.2
Count the Kicks has a free app available in the iOS and Google Play app stores that provides expectant parents a simple, non-invasive way to get to know their baby’s normal movement patterns. App users can see their session history, rate the strength of their baby’s movements, set daily reminders and have the ability to count for single babies and twins. Printable movement monitoring charts are also available on the Count the Kicks website.
After a few days tracking movement, expectant parents will 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 mom should call her healthcare provider right away.
Midlothian mom Alyssa LoTiempo knows first-hand the importance of paying attention to her baby’s movements. She was using the Count the Kicks app every day in the third trimester of her pregnancy. A few weeks before her due date Alyssa noticed her baby wasn’t moving like he normally did. She went to the hospital to get checked and they discovered her blood pressure was elevated.
“I stayed in the hospital overnight for observation and my doctor checked in with me in the morning, and that is when we decided it was time to be induced. After Araton was born, they discovered that he had a short umbilical cord and there were blood clots in my placenta,” Alyssa said. “I’m so glad I trusted my instincts and paid attention to my son’s movements. Because of that, Araton had a safe and healthy delivery.”
Thanks to the partnership with Anthem, maternal health providers, birthing hospitals, social service agencies, childbirth educators and other providers in Virginia can order FREE Count the Kicks educational materials (available at www.CountTheKicks.org) to help them have a conversation with expectant parents about the importance of their baby’s movements. These materials include posters, brochures, and app download cards in English and Spanish.
Though the partnership, Anthem and Count the Kicks will also work to address social determinants of health through a 4-question survey for all expectant parents utilizing the free app. The questions focus on barriers to accessing resources and connect app users who are in need of additional assistance and support to free or reduced cost resources in their local community. These resources include diaper banks, food banks, housing assistance, and more.
“We are excited to partner with Count the Kicks to improve maternal and infant health outcomes here in Virginia,” said Jennie Reynolds, Anthem HealthKeepers Plus President in Virginia. “We are thrilled to already see how the program is working to save lives teaching expectant moms how to monitor for healthy babies.”
According to the CDC, approximately 500 Virginia babies are stillborn each year.3 New research4 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 Count the Kicks stillbirth prevention program at a time when America’s stillbirth rate remained stagnant. The results have led researchers to call for urgent action to address the stillbirth crisis in the U.S. and to study Count the Kicks on a national level. Through this collaboration, Elevance is hoping to bring the same success to Virginia, which would save approximately 160 babies in the state each year.5
About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation
The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is a philanthropic arm of the Elevance Health Foundation. The Foundation works to address health equity by focusing on improving the health of the socially vulnerable through strategic partnerships and programs in our communities with an emphasis on maternal child health; mental health; and food as medicine. Additionally, the Foundation also responds to disasters when our communities need us the most. The Foundation coordinates the company’s year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates’ donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. To learn more about the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and the Elevance Health Foundation, please visit www.elevancehealth.foundation and its blog at www.medium.com/elevancehealthfoundation.
About Count the Kicks
The Count the Kicks public health campaign is a project of Healthy Birth Day, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of stillbirth. Count the Kicks has a growing network of supportive doctors, nurses, hospitals and clinics in 26 states that give Count the Kicks materials to their patients. Count the Kicks has been featured on Good Morning America, The Washington Post, Sunday Night Football, and in O Magazine, and produced a national PSA that has generated more than 300 million viewer impressions. Count the Kicks has more than 110 stories from families around the country who have written in to share how they used Count the Kicks to help their baby have a healthy birth day. The free Count the Kicks app is available in 16 languages and has been downloaded more than 230,000 times in all 50 states and more than 140 countries. Learn more about our vision to save 7,500 babies every year and improve birth outcomes everywhere at CountTheKicks.org.
1 Number based on 5-year average stillbirth rate, multiplied by the 32% reduction seen in Iowa. Stillbirth data is from CDC Wonder. Note stillbirth rate is calculated by: Fetal Deaths/Total of Live Births + Fetal Deaths*1,000.
2 Number based on dividing 1,000 by the 5-year average stillbirth rate. Stillbirth data is from CDC Wonder.
3 Number based on the 5-year average stillbirth numbers, total stillbirth data from CDC Wonder.
4 Heazell, AEP, Holland, F, Wilkinson, J. Information about fetal movements and stillbirth trends: Analysis of time series data. BJOG. 2023; 00: 1– 10. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.17426
5 Number based on 5-year average stillbirth rate, multiplied by the 32% reduction seen in Iowa. Stillbirth data is from CDC Wonder. Note stillbirth rate is calculated by: Fetal Deaths/Total of Live Births + Fetal Deaths*1,000.