Mom Credits ‘Count The Kicks’ App For Saving Baby’s Life

When Shamari Cooke was pregnant with her son, her OBGYN recommended that the first-time mom use an app called Count the Kicks. What Cooke didn’t expect was for the app to help save her baby’s life.

Count the Kicks is an app created for an evidence-based campaign that educates expectant parents about the importance of tracking fetal movements. Cooke started using the app daily in the third trimester to familiarize herself with her baby’s movements.

“As a first-time mom, I didn’t know that I would count his kicks. I just assumed they were always moving,” said Cooke.

Every night during Cooke’s third trimester, she tracked her baby’s movements using the app, but one night in July she noticed something was wrong.

“The last time he kicked was after I left work at 5,” Cooke said WSFA News. “So when I got home, my husband and I – we walked, ate and lay down. I realized that I hadn’t felt him since I left work so I drank some ice water. Usually, that would get him moving, but I drank ice water and he still wouldn’t budge.”

Related: Is Your Baby Sucking Up a Storm? Research explains why fetuses move so much

As the night wore on, she and her husband became concerned and decided to go to the emergency room.

“Honestly, I really didn’t want to go and spend the night in the ER and have an additional hospital bill, but we knew it could be important to our baby’s safety,” Cooke said in a Post on Instagram on the Count the Kicks account.

When Cooke and her husband arrived at the hospital, her daughter still had a heartbeat. A non-stress test showed that Cooke’s amniotic fluid had become very low, despite the fact that she had no symptoms or leakage. Her levels remained too low even after medical intervention, so she was induced.

“It’s crazy because the hospital is only 15 minutes away from our house,” Cooke said. “That was the longest 15 minutes of my life because I kept trying to talk to my stomach like, ‘Come on, Aspen. Come on, Aspen. ‘Move, move, move.'”

Cooke underwent an emergency C-section, and gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Aspen.

“I’m just grateful,” Cooke told WSFA. “Because what if I don’t go to the hospital?”

Related: This new finding about why babies move so much in the womb is fascinating

Jasmine Hammonds, ambassador for Count the Kicks, told WSFA that in Alabama, one out of every 113 pregnancies ends in stillbirth. Using an app like Count the Kicks could potentially lower those rates by 32%, Hammonds said.

“I’m just thankful we got it in time,” Cooke said.

More than 21,000 babies in the US are stillborn each year. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 1 in 4 stillbirths is potentially preventable. Early attention to any changes in fetal movement is key to helping prevent dire outcomes, as is education on evidence-based resources and monitoring.

The Count the Kicks app is free. To learn more about the campaign, click here.

A version of this story was originally published on Sept. 19, 2022. This has been updated.

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