Des Moines, Iowa- March 9, 2022: Today Congresswoman Alma Adams (D-North Carolina), Congresswoman Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa), Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana) introduced the bipartisan Maternal and Child Health Stillbirth Prevention Act of 2022 into Congress for consideration. The House and Senate companion legislation would add stillbirth and stillbirth prevention to Title V of the Social Security Act — something that has been lacking since the introduction of Title V back in 1935. Every year, 47,000 expectant parents will lose their baby to stillbirth, according to the CDC.
Healthy Birth Day, Inc. the nonprofit organization that created the Count the Kicks stillbirth prevention campaign, helped initiate the legislation after discovering the omission of stillbirth from the most important piece of maternal health legislation in our country. The annual number of stillbirths far exceeds the number of deaths among children aged 0-14 years from preterm birth, SIDS, accidents, drownings, guns, fire, and flu combined. Racial disparities persist, with 1 out of every 96 Black pregnancies ending in stillbirth. Hispanic and Indigenous women are also at greater risk of losing their babies.
The legislation recognizes that stillbirth (defined as the loss of a baby at 20 weeks or greater during pregnancy), and the disparity in those impacted by stillbirth, requires further research, support, and prevention programming. It also calls for evidence-based programs and activities and outcome research to reduce the incidence of stillbirth including tracking and awareness of fetal movements, improvement of birth timing for pregnant people with risk factors, initiatives that encourage safe sleeping positions for pregnant people, screening and surveillance for fetal growth restriction, efforts to achieve smoking cessation amongst pregnant people, community-based programs that provide home visits or other types of support, and any other research or evidence-based programming to prevent stillbirths.
“This legislation is for the hundreds of thousands of expectant parents in this country who have lost a baby to stillbirth. It is a strong, bipartisan effort to acknowledge the silent crisis of stillbirth in this country and that we must do more to prevent preventable stillbirths through awareness and funding. We have solutions to save babies NOW. We are deeply grateful to Congresswomen Adams and Hinson and Senators Cassidy and Merkley for championing this issue,” said Emily Price, Executive Director of Healthy Birth Day, Inc.
Healthy Birth Day, Inc. encourages families and maternal health professionals who have been impacted by stillbirth to share their personal stories at StillbirthStories.com and on a variety of Stillbirth Stories social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. The goal is to elevate the issue of stillbirth and to put a face to tragic birth outcomes that have long been ignored.
We encourage everyone who supports this legislation to learn more about the bill and reach out to your member of Congress to let them know you support it by visiting bit.ly/StillbirthPreventionAct.
The following organizations have endorsed the bill: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP), Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Every Mother Counts, Healthy Birth Day, Inc., The 2 Degrees Foundation, March of Dimes, Maternal Mental Health Leadership Alliance, Measure the Placenta, Mom Congress, Moms Rising Together, PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy, Reproductive and Placental Research Unit-Yale School of Medicine, Return to Zero: HOPE, 1st Breath, 2020 Mom, and Star Legacy Foundation.
About Healthy Birth Day, Inc.
Healthy Birth Day, Inc. is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that created the Count the Kicks public health campaign. The organization and prevention campaign were founded by five Greater Des Moines women who all lost daughters to stillbirth or infant death in the early 2000s. The free Count the Kicks app is a powerful stillbirth prevention tool to help expectant parents be more in tune with their bodies and their babies. The free Count the Kicks app has been downloaded more than 180,000 times in all 50 states and more than 140 countries. In Iowa, where Count the Kicks began, the state’s stillbirth rate dropped by nearly 32% in the first 10 years of the campaign (2008-2018) and in the first five years the African American rate decreased nearly 39%; all while the rest of the country remained relatively stagnant. Learn more at CountTheKicks.org. We also invite you to learn more about our advocacy work at HealthyBirthDay.org.