COUNTING KICKS: New App Helps Expectant Moms

We use our smartphones for just about everything these days.  Now, pregnant women can use their phones to track something that could save their unborn baby’s life.

A group of Iowa women recently met to go through what they call “baby save stories.” State legislator Janet Petersen says, “We have Madeline.” She goes on to mention Cooper, Preston and Abigail. She says, “Even though Abigail’s mom thought it might not be anything she listened to her body and called her doctor.”

Kate Safris says, “It’s really amazing the stories that we get of parents who say the doctors said you saved your baby’s life.”

Petersen and Safris are part of a group called Healthy Birthday. Five central Iowa moms started the non profit after each grieved the loss of a baby girl. Petersen says, “We’re dedicated to preventing stillbirth and improving birth outcomes. And, our goal is to make Iowa the safest place in the country to have a baby.”

In 2010, the group rolled out a statewide campaign encouraging Iowa moms to literally count the kicks. Petersen says, “We had heard about researchers in Norway who had done a research study where they educated expectant parents to monitor their baby’s movement every day during the last trimester of pregnancy and watch for movement patterns.”

Healthy Birthday started in Des Moines, but soon moms-to-be across the country will be able to count the kicks with the help of their smart phones. Petersen says, “Getting ready to introduce a count the kicks web app where moms-to-be can monitor their baby’s movement on their smartphones or computers, so that will really be our first chance to count the kicks beyond our borders.”

Petersen says moms will be able to tap the footprints on the app each time the baby kicks. The app will track the movement pattern over days and even different pregnancies. It will also provide valuable data. Petersen says, “About who is counting kicks, their age range, their ethnicity, where in the country they live, what time they’re counting so we can help bolster both our educational and marketing efforts.”

The group will launch the app at a fundraiser Thursday night. Moms from around the country are flying in to join the women as count the kicks ambassadors in their home states. The event starts at 6:30 at the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates.

After the launch, the app will be available at countthekicks.org.

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