Maine CDC and Partners Expand Stillbirth Prevention Program

March 20, 2024

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) is partnering with Count the Kicks, an evidence-based stillbirth prevention program, to educate expectant parents about the importance of paying attention to their baby’s movements in the third trimester of pregnancy. In Maine, one in every 175 pregnancies ends in stillbirth, with racial minorities disproportionally affected.

Stillbirth is commonly defined as the loss of a baby at 20 weeks or greater during pregnancy. It impacts more than 21,000 families in the U.S. every year, according to the U.S. CDC. Research shows that nearly 30% of stillbirths can be prevented when expectant parents are educated on how to monitor their baby’s movements once a day starting at 28 weeks.

Count the Kicks is a program of Healthy Birth Day, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention of stillbirth. The free Count the Kicks app is available in more than 20 languages in the Google Play and iOS app stores and has more than 260,000 registered users in all 50 U.S. states, and more than 140 other countries. The app provides expectant parents a simple, non-invasive means of getting to know their baby’s normal movement patterns. Parents who don’t have smartphones or a strong internet connection can use downloadable counting charts available at

Evidence shows that a change in a baby’s movements in the third trimester is an early red flag. After a few days of using the Count the Kicks app, expectant parents begin to see a pattern – a normal amount of time it takes their baby to get to 10 movements. If their baby’s ‘normal’ changes during the third trimester, this could be a sign of potential problems and is an indication that the expectant parent should call their health care provider.

Through partnership with the Maine CDC, maternal health providers, birthing hospitals, social service agencies, childbirth educators and other providers in Maine can order free Count the Kicks educational materials to help them have a conversation about baby’s movement patterns with expectant parents. These materials are available in Arabic, English, French, Haitian-Creole, Kinyarwanda, Lingala, Portuguese, Somali and Spanish.

According to the U.S. CDC, approximately 69 Maine babies are stillborn each year. Research shows that the Count the Kicks campaign helped lower the stillbirth rate in Iowa by more than 30% in the first 10 years of the prevention program at a time when America’s overall stillbirth rate remained stagnant. Those results have led researchers to call for urgent action to address the stillbirth crisis in the U.S. and to study Count the Kicks on a national level. Through this collaboration, Maine CDC hopes to bring similar success to Maine.

The Maine CDC is sponsoring a webinar on Count the Kicks for all health care workers from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26. Register for the webinar here.