A stillbirth can be devastating for parents. However, new technologies may help women monitor their unborn baby so they know when there may be problems.
Stillbirths happen more often than people may realize. According to Cleveland.com, roughly 24,000 stillbirths occur in the U.S. each year. Better maternity care has helped to decrease the number of stillbirths over the past several decades. However, women still continue to experience these tragedies.
The role of public awareness
The Ohio Department of Health has partnered with an Iowa nonprofit to help teach parents the signs of a potential stillbirth. One sign that many women may notice is their baby’s lack of movement, especially in the third trimester. Each day, mothers should feel movement about 10 times, usually within 2 hours. Less movement may indicate that there is a problem. Babies may sometimes become tangled in the umbilical cord, for example, and this may hinder their movement. Lower levels of amniotic fluid may also prevent movement.
New technology to prevent stillbirths
In some cases, doctors may be able to prevent stillbirths if they learn about potential problems early on. Women can use an app called Count the Kicks to monitor their unborn baby. The app allows women to record each time their baby moves so that they can understand how much movement they should expect to feel each day. This advance warning allows mothers to call their doctor for a checkup if they notice less movement than normal.
Many women have already used the Count the Kicks app to save their baby’s life. In Iowa, for example, the rate of stillbirths went down almost 32% in the first 10 years after the state launched the campaign.