The latest Lancet series on stillbirth rates across the world made headlines last week. It highlighted how far that countries worldwide still have to go in cutting the rate of preventable stillbirths that take place each and every day. The study also highlighted yet again how far down the rankings the UK is rated on this issue - 21st out of 35 developed countries. We still have a long way to go and our charity campaigns on this issue to try and teach women that there is much that they can do themselves to prevent stillbirth.
Stillbirth is still a difficult subject to raise with pregnant women. There is a taboo about it as if by talking about stillbirth, you are making it a possibility. We believe that if you deliver that message in the right way, it doesn't have to be scary. Many stillbirths are preventable if expectant mums know what they are looking for. Only 10% of stillbirths are caused by a fatal congenital abnormality meaning there is the potential to save up to 90% of stillborn babies, a third of whom are born after 37 weeks when a baby could have safely been delivered. By focusing on the causes or signs of stillbirth that mums can control themselves we can help empower them to do something positive for their baby. We cannot reduce stillbirth rates by burying our heads in the sand and hoping it won't happen.
Our Kicks Count campaign focuses on giving mums the knowledge and confidence to spot the signs that their baby is in distress so that they seek help before it is too late. We want to make our message and our campaign as clear as possible. That is why we have decided that from today we will be known as Kicks Count and not Count the Kicks. It may not seem like a big change but it is an important one and reflects feedback and advice from healthcare professionals. Kicks Count advocates the importance of understanding a baby's movement patterns during pregnancy and we want to ensure that pregnant women understand our advice clearly.
Our message is and always has been, that there is no set number of kicks or movements that expectant mums should expect to feel. Many years ago Midwives advised mums to count to 10 when monitoring their baby's movements, believing 10 kicks in 2 hours meant the baby was well. This however has since been disproved as baby's movements vary and rely solely on maternal perception. In studies it was found that women were reporting from 4 to 100 kicks every hour so setting a target of 10 was not reflective. Instead each woman should get to know what is normal for her baby and report any change in that. We have always given this message in our leaflets and online but some professionals saw the name 'Count the Kicks' and assumed we were talking about the old, outdated count to 10 method. This sometimes prevented midwives and healthcare professionals from backing our campaign. While the number of people who found our name confusing was minimal, when it comes to the fight against stillbirth we can't afford to take any chances. By telling mums that Kicks Count, instead of Count the Kicks, we can help to dispel some of the myths that surround baby movements.
The change to Kicks Count is an important reminder to mothers that paying attention to their baby's pattern of movements and telling their midwife or obstetrician when they are reduced is important.
We hope that this name change will clarify our message and help us to reach more expectant parents with our advice on baby movement. To find out more about us, please pay us a visit at: www.kickscount.org.uk