Local app helps save babies' lives

Count the Kicks is available in the palm of your hands

CENTRAL IOWA - Another baby is saved - all thanks to an app.

The Count the Kicks app allows moms to track their baby's movements in the third trimester of a pregnancy.

Mackenzi Johnson of Ankeny used the app last week, when she noticed her baby was not kicking as much as normal. Doctors delivered the baby right away and found out the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck. Her daughter Pyper is doing fine and is a healthy baby girl.

Another metro woman used the app earlier this year and is thankful she did. Emily Eekhoff of Waukee has been counting her blessings every day for the past ten weeks. While in the final stretch of her pregnancy this May, she noticed her daughter Ruby was not kicking as she was supposed to.
"I could easily get the ten kicks in under ten minutes," Eekhoff said. "I was really trying to get her to move and not getting the same amount of movements like before, so knowing that she took less than ten minutes when she took hours to do a few movements, I knew something was really wrong."
Eekhoff had an emergency c-section and found out the umbilical cord was wrapped around Ruby's neck. Eekhoff says she noticed something was off -- all thanks to the Count the Kicks app.
"I knew what her normal was," Eekhoff said. "Another day might have been too late, so I think it was super important in saving her life."
So how do you actually use it? Choose a time when your baby is active and every time you feel the baby kick, press the footprint button on the screen. Once the circle is complete all the way around, the app will tell you how long it took your baby to kick the recommended ten times. Then that data is stored in the app, so you can access it if you need to show it to a doctor.
"You're going to start to notice a pattern," said Emily Price, Executive Director of Count the Kicks. "If all of a sudden you go from it taking 15 minutes and then all of a sudden it takes and hour and 45 minutes, that's a significant change that you're provider needs to be aware of."
Now, with another baby in Ankeny safe because of Count the Kicks, the people behind the app are happy to help.
"The tears just come, I mean, we're just so moved and excited that a baby has been saved because of this simple tool that was in the palm of their mom's hands," Price said.
Eekhoff hopes other mothers take advantage of it.
"We have a healthy baby, which we are, words can't say how thankful we are and what might have been, is really scary to think about, and I'm glad we don't have to think about that," Eekhoff said.
So far, three babies have been saved by using the Count the Kicks app - two in Iowa and one in Nebraska. It is available for free on both Apple and Android devices.


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