An Iowa mother has turned a tragedy into an effort to help others and give babies a better chance of a healthy birth. Tiffan Yamen of Waukee lost her baby daughter and doctors found the girl’s umbilical cord had wrapped around her neck. Yamen and four other Iowa women created Healthy Birth Day, and organization that promotes research and education of stillborn babies.

Yamen says one of the projects the group is now supporting is call “Count the Kicks,” which asks expectant mothers to set aside time in the last 12 weeks of their pregnancy to track the movement of their baby. “So the nice thing about tracking the movements is you can see those trends and you can really get to know the personality of your baby,” Yamen says. She says some babies have 10 movements in five minutes and others take 45 minutes.

The program paid off when Yamen told an acquaintance who was pregnant about it. That women ended up going to her doctor after noticing a slowdown in the baby’s movements. The decision was made to induce labor, and Dr. Amy McEntaffer says the baby’s cord was wrapped around his neck.

“She did everything right; she identified that her baby was not moving well; she told us that her baby was not moving well and allowed us to do the proper interventions to get her a healthy happy baby,” McEntaffer says. McEntaffer says the routine counts can provide important information.

“We can have a baby that’s telling us ‘Hey I might have a little bit of trouble going on, or I might be starting to get myself into trouble,’ and if mom calls the provider right away then we have the opportunity to bring the mom in to do other testing on her,” McEntaffer says.

The Count Kicks program is being used in Iowa and Michigan, but is not yet universally recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. You learn more about the program