Wyoming Department of Health Working to Reduce Stillbirths

Nov 14, 2023 | Featured, Regional News

Cheyenne, WY (RELEASE) November 14, 2023 — The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is working to help expectant parents learn how paying attention to their baby’s movements can sometimes help prevent stillbirths.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests roughly 1 in every 162 pregnancies ends in stillbirth for Wyoming mothers, with more than 21,000 families affected across the country each year. Stillbirth is commonly defined as the loss of a baby at 20 weeks gestation or greater during pregnancy.

Expert research shows nearly 30 percent of stillbirths can be prevented when expectant parents learn how tomonitor their baby’s movements once a day starting at 28 weeks.

“We know a change in a baby’s movements in the third trimester can sometimes be an early red flag,” said Kelly Belz, Women and Infant Health Program manager with WDH.

Count the Kicks, an evidence-based stillbirth prevention program, has a free app available in the iOS and Google Play app stores that offers expectant parents a simple, non-invasive way to get to know their baby’s normal movement patterns. 

“We’re encouraging Wyoming families with a baby on the way to consider downloading this helpful app,” Belz said.

Belz noted parents who don’t have smartphones or strong internet connections can use downloadable kick counting charts available at CountTheKicks.org or may request a kick-counting bracelet from their local public health office.

“After a few days of using Count the Kicks resources, expectant parents can begin to see patterns such as the normal amount of time it takes their baby to get to 10 movements,” Belz said. “If their baby’s ‘normal’ changes during the third trimester, this could be a sign of potential problems. We would recommend reaching out to their pregnancy healthcare provider.”

Maternal health providers, hospitals, social service agencies, childbirth educators and other providers can order free Count the Kicks educational materials at CountTheKicks.org) to support conversations about baby movement patterns with expectant parents. Wyoming-specific options are available and include posters, brochures and app download cards in English and Spanish.