Our Story

Healthy Birth Day, Inc. was founded by five Iowa moms determined to make our world a safer place to have a baby.

In the early 2000s, friends and pastors connected Jan, Janet, Kate, Kerry and Tiffan, hoping they could lean on each other through their heartache. All five had lost a daughter to stillbirth or infant death.

What started as conversations over coffee – sharing tears, heartache, anger and unjustified shame of not being able to save their baby girls – quickly lit a spark amongst them to do something.

The women decided to channel their grief into stillbirth prevention to keep other families from facing the pain of losing a baby.

By 2004, the women worked with the Iowa legislature to create Iowa’s Stillbirth Registry — the most comprehensive stillbirth data collection program in the country — and garnered the support of U.S. Senator Tom Harkin in securing CDC funding for the project. Others heard about the registry work and began advocating for a national Stillbirth Registry.

A few years later, the women learned about public health research in Norway that demonstrated a 30 percent reduction in stillbirth by teaching expectant parents how to monitor fetal movement daily during the third trimester. Several scientific studies, not just the one in Norway, indicate kick counting, or keeping a daily record of a baby’s movements (kicks, rolls, jabs and punches) during the third trimester, is an easy, free and reliable way to monitor a baby’s well-being in addition to regular prenatal visits.

The women had found their next project and decided that even if it saved just one baby it would be worthwhile. The evidence-based public health awareness campaign, Count the Kicks, was born in 2008.

The next year, the women co-founded Healthy Birth Day, Inc. a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Des Moines, Iowa, dedicated to preventing stillbirths and improving birth outcomes.  Count the Kicks would become its first signature stillbirth prevention initiative.

Thanks to generous donors, Healthy Birth Day, Inc. raised enough funds for all maternal health providers in Iowa to stock their offices with free Count the Kicks’ posters and brochures to give to every pregnant parent. In the first 10 years of the Count the Kicks campaign in Iowa, the state’s overall stillbirth rate has decreased nearly 32 percent. In the first five years of the campaign, Iowa’s African American stillbirth rate deceased by 39%, while the country as a whole has been stagnant.

 

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Our Legacy

Five Moms, One Mission

Everything Healthy Birth Day, Inc. accomplishes is based on our values and in memory of the founders’ five baby girls: Emma Kate, Grace, Madeline, Grace and Jayden.

Our Stories

Spreading Count the Kicks Message

We invite you to join Healthy Birth Day, Inc. and its growing network of supportive hospitals, doctors and advocates across the U.S. who are spreading the Count the Kicks message, including more than 50 volunteer ambassadors representing 32 states and the District of Columbia.

So far, 15 states have teamed up with Healthy Birth Day, Inc. to provide free Count the Kicks stillbirth prevention education to their expectant parents.  This proven public health campaign has gone global thanks to our Count the Kicks app, which can be found in the iOS and Google Play app stores. The app is free and available in 12+ languages.

Bring Count the Kicks to your state

Contact us to discuss how you can bring the successful, evidence-based Count the Kicks campaign to your state or country.

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Your support goes directly to funding our outreach and advocacy for stillbirth prevention programs.

Count the Kicks educational materials
$25

Help us push for life-saving stillbirth prevention initiatives in the U.S.

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A pregnant woman wears a kick counting bracelet
$50

Provide essential stillbirth prevention tools to 15 expectant parents.

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Educational toolkit for providers
$100

Supply a birthing hospital with stillbirth prevention materials.

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MercyOne Count the Kicks presentation
$500

Fund a campaign to members of Congress advocating for stillbirth prevention programs and funding.

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