DHEC urges mothers to pay attention to third-trimester baby movements
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control reminds South Carolina residents of the agency’s ongoing partnership with Count the Kicks. It is an evidence-based stillbirth prevention campaign. Count the Kicks serves to educate and empower expectant parents about the importance of paying attention to their baby’s movements in the third trimester as a method to prevent stillbirth. Stillbirth is defined as the loss of a baby at 20 weeks or later in the pregnancy.
In South Carolina, 1 in every 144 pregnancies ends in stillbirth, and 23,500 stillbirths happen each year across the country, 400 or so in South Carolina. Stillbirths also disproportionately affect racial minorities. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a black woman is more than twice as likely to lose her baby to stillbirth than a white woman. Black women are also three times more likely to die of pregnancy complications. Hispanic and Native American women also have higher stillbirth rates than white women.
The CDC lists a change in a baby’s movements as one of its 15 urgent maternal warning signs. Research shows that babies can be saved from preventable stillbirth when expectant parents track their baby’s movements daily and learn how long it normally takes their baby to get to 10 movements. The group offers a free Count the Kicks app as a helpful way to track third-trimester movement. It is available for both Android and iPhone. Learn more about Count the Kicks at www.countthekicks.org.