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App to help expectant moms is a good move

Across the country, one in 167 pregnancies ends in a stillbirth.

That translates to a fetal mortality rate in the U.S. of about 3.98 per 1,000 pregnancies. But in Ohio, the rate is 4.39 per 1,000.

Ohio’s Department of Health is working to do something about that, and has partnered with public awareness campaign Count the Kicks to develop a new smartphone app that may help prevent some stillbirths. It tracks fetal movement during the third trimester of pregnancy by: helping count a baby’s kicks, reminding to pick a time when the baby is active and time how long it takes to get 10 movements, and then reminds to call a doctor immediately if there are changes from what is normal for the baby.

The idea is to give expectant mothers tools and education because they are the people best positioned to evaluate their baby’s health. It has been developed in 10 languages and is available free online, along with other educational resources and information about hospitals, maternal health care providers and social service agencies.

Bravo to the folks at the Department of Health who took a step toward addressing this grim statistic. It may be a small step, but if it saves even one baby, the effort is well worth it.

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