Wesley Healthcare
May 07, 2014

Wesley Medical Center provides education on the importance of tracking baby

movements in the third trimester of pregnancy

WICHITA – Sapphire Garcia-Glancy is helping turn the heartache of losing her unborn daughter into a global movement to save babies.

As the ambassador of the Count the Kicks Kansas program, Garcia-Glancy is partnering with Wesley Medical Center in providing classes and literature to physicians, nurses and moms-to-be on the importance of tracking a baby’s movement in the third trimester of pregnancy. Wesley is the only hospital in Kansas to support the Count the Kicks campaign.

“The information provided to expectant moms is not meant to scare them or make them anxious about their babies,” Garcia-Glancy said. “Charting your baby’s activity is a great way to get to know your baby, help monitor your baby’s health and alert you to potential problems.”

Last July, Garcia-Glancy knew something was wrong when the movements of her unborn daughter Ella became less and less frequent. After arriving at the hospital that morning, doctors discovered Ella had passed away as the result of an umbilical cord accident. She delivered her daughter early the next morning, just twelve days shy of Ella’s due date.

Baby Ella is not alone. The National Institute of Health estimates that of the 4 million births a year in the United States, there are 26,000 stillbirths, meaning 70 American women deliver a stillborn each day. In 2013, 201 stillbirths occurred in Kansas.

“My instincts told me that something was wrong, but I had been told that it’s normal for babies to move less towards the end of pregnancy, “ Garcia-Glancy said. “ If I had been counting Ella’s kicks, I think I would have recognized that she was in danger. I might have gone to the hospital sooner, and the doctors might have been able to help her.”

In 2009, a group of five Iowa moms – who all lost baby girls within months of each other – launched Count the Kicks, a public awareness campaign dedicated to saving babies. The program has created a network of supportive hospitals, doctors and advocates who are spreading their message. The program has seven ambassadors in seven states.

“I was so devastated at the loss of my daughter that I turned to the Internet as a way to educate myself, searching for some understanding of how this could happen to me,” Garcia-Glancy said. “I stumbled upon the Count the Kicks program, and after learning about the program and what these women in Iowa were doing, I knew I had to get involved.”

Wesley has made a commitment to train all of its 60 labor and delivery physicians and more than 200 women’s nurses in the Count the Kicks program. All expectant moms will receive program information when they come to Wesley for care.

“With Wesley delivering more than 6,000 babies a year, it’s important that we do all we can to ensure healthy babies,” said Jolinda Kelley, Wesley’s women’s nurse navigator. “We can save babies’ lives with this program. We just need to make sure our moms-to-be are aware of it.”

The campaign promotes the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists guidelines for monitoring fetal movements in the last trimester. Dr. Neil Mandsager, MD, a perinatologist in Des Moines, Iowa, reviewed the educational information prior to its launch. The campaign was inspired by a similar program in Norway*. The large-scale study conducted in Norway demonstrated an overall reduction of stillbirths by one-third when all patients were educated on monitoring fetal movements.

“It’s important for pregnant women to daily monitor their babies’ movements during their third trimester,” said Melissa Hague, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist with Heartland Women’s Group. “Contrary to popular belief, baby’s movements do not significantly slow down at the end of pregnancy. The quality of the movements may change, but the quantity should still fall at or above ten movements in two hours.”

The Count the Kicks program has a new mobile app that makes tracking easy. Available for free in the Android and Apple online stores, the app helps expectant moms count the kicks daily, set a reminder each day to count the kicks, the opportunity to review the kick counting history and includes a profile feature that allows users to track future pregnancies.

For more information about Wesley Medical Center, please visit www.wesleymc.com.

Wesley Medical Center is the region’s leading acute care hospital network providing a full range of diagnostic and treatment services for patients throughout Kansas and northern Oklahoma since 1912. As a leader in Overall Recommended Care, Wesley treats more than 24,000 patients annually and delivers more than 6,000 babies – more than any hospital in a 13-state region. Wesley provides the most extensive emergency network in Wichita, with Wesley ER, Wesley West ER and Galichia ER. Wesley owns and operates Galichia Heart Hospital, WESLEYCare Clinics and the Pediatric Center of Kansas. To learn more about Wesley Medical Center, please visit wesleymc.com.

Count the Kicks campaign was launched in 2009 by the Healthy Birth Day Organization, a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing stillbirths and infant deaths through research, education and advocacy. For more information visit www.healthbirthday.org and www.countthekicks.org.

*Holm, Tveit JV SE, Stray-Pedersen B, Bordhal PE, Flenady V., Fretts R, Froen JF: Reduction of late stillbirth with the introduction of fetal movement information and guidelines – a clinical quality improvement. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2009, 9(32).)