Kicks Count was set up in 2009 as Count the Kicks by Sophia Wyatt, following the stillbirth of her daughter Chloe. Chloe died just 3 days before her due date. Her movements had slowed down but with no information as to what that could mean, Sophia didn't seek help.
In the days following Chloe’s death Sophia realised that, before many of stillbirths, the baby slows their movements before passing away. By reporting a change in movements immediately, babies in distress could be saved. Had Sophia known that at the time Chloe may be here today. And so, with that, Count the Kicks campaign was born in Chloe’s honour.
“I started this Charity because I HAD to, to try to teach those expectant mums, so none of them have to feel the pain I feel every day. I started this for Chloe, for my family….. but also, for me!” – Sophia Wyatt. This is a message felt by so many parents who have been affected by the loss of a baby.
After years of hard work, Sophia signed the charity over to current CEO Elizabeth Hutton in 2014.
Elizabeth volunteered for Kicks Count at the time and was determined to make it a success in honour of her son, Toby.
“I felt so strongly that this would work, that this would help. The UK has one of the worst stillbirth rates in the developed world, a third of which occur after 37 weeks when the baby is considered full term. The majority of Mums who have a stillbirth noticed a change in their baby’s movements beforehand as a baby in distress tends to slow their movements 12 to 48 hours before they pass away. Kicks counts had a very simple message…Report any change in your babies’ movements immediately. In Norway this simple message had helped reduce their stillbirth rate by 50%. All we needed to do was make every single pregnant woman aware of Kicks Count.”
Kicks Count aims to reduce the UK’s shockingly high stillbirth and neonatal death rate by raising awareness of baby’s movements.
Sadly, the death of a baby isn’t rare. The UK ranks 33rd out of 35 high income countries, making it the 3rd highest stillbirth rate in the developed world. Sadly, at Wolferstans we act for several clients affect by baby loss and neonatal death.
In 2015, the latest given statistics, around 9 babies were stillborn every day. In the same year, around 6 babies were lost to neonatal death every day. Around a third of stillbirths happen after 37 weeks, when the baby is deemed full term. The statistics are astonishing.
Stillbirth is 10 times more common than cot death, however it seems cot death is widely and more openly discussed. Stillbirths account for more than half of the death of infants under one year in the UK and more babies die at, or just before, birth than they do from cot death, road deaths and meningitis combined.
There is a common misconception that stillbirths only happen in high risk pregnancies or when there is a known problem. However, stillbirth can affect any mum at any time, as sadly we witness acting for clients who have suffered avoidable baby loss.
Around half of women experiencing a stillbirth perceived a reduction in fetal movement prior to diagnosis.
While there isn’t one cause of stillbirth, a decrease in fetal movement can be a key warning sign that a baby is in distress and early delivery could save nearly a third of stillborn babies. This is a message reiterated by Sophia Williams of Ava’s Fund and so many other mothers.
When the baby is being deprived of oxygen he or she will slow their movements to conserve oxygen. Cord compression, a failing placenta, or a high intake of smoke may all lead to reduced movements and could be potentially fatal.
The Confidential Enquiry into Stillbirths and Deaths in Infancy found that lack of prompt management to reduced fetal movement was a contributing factor to stillbirth.
A ‘Kicks Count’ campaign in Norway saw the rates of stillbirth halved and, in the UK, a similar awareness campaign in the 1980’s around cot death saw rates of sudden infant deaths fall by a massive 70%.
How can Kick’s Count help?
1. Midwife Resources – They provide free resources to midwives including leaflets, maternity note inserts, stickers, posters and banners
2. Website – Their website is a valuable resource for up to date fetal movement and pregnancy information. All information on the site is intended to complement advice or information from your healthcare professional, not replace it.
3. Social Media – Their popular social media channels allow us to reach 2 million people per week
4. Their free mobile app helps women to keep track of their baby’s movements and identify a change in pattern
5. Media – Articles in national press and online allow them to raise more awareness of Kicks Count and their work
6. Businesses- Kicks Count work with several businesses that help them reach their customers with their message.
Kicks Count have successfully worked with the Department of Health, NHS, Royal College of Midwives and many other health organisations to promote consistent messaging around fetal movement. Kicks Count have eliminated out of date myths (such as women should count 10 kicks in 2 hours, or babies slow down at the end of pregnancy) from official documents and the NHS leaflet and Kicks Count leaflets are now consistent in their message.
However, in a recent survey only 29% of women got most of their information from their midwife, with 49% getting most of their information from Google. Unfortunately, there is no regulation around medical messaging on the internet and so many large scale pregnancy organisations write their own advice which is full of flaws. A brief search found extremely damaging information on “reputable” pregnancy websites. Some suggesting reduced fetal movement at the end of pregnancy was normal and to be expected.
During Baby Loss Awareness Week, you can visit the Kicks Count website (www.kickscount.org.uk) where they have networks and resources available to provide families with that essential support.
It is clear that social media is going to be providing support nationwide throughout the week, so please do follow the hash tags #BLAW2018 or #babyloss #BabyLossAwarenessWeek or follow our tweets throughout the week.
The impact on families following the loss of a baby is devastating and Wolferstans are supporting Baby Loss Awareness Week.