Fisherman’s mom uses pregnancy app and helps save her baby’s life

ByLance T. Lee

Aug 30, 2022

Kendra Peterson was already on high alert and her pregnancy with her daughter, Piper, was not easy.

FISHERS, Ind. — An app that helps moms monitor their babies’ movements in late pregnancy is saving lives in Indiana.

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield has partnered with “Count the Kicks” for a public health campaign this year. A family of Fishers is grateful to have used it.

There was joy for the Peterson family’s rainbow baby this summer, following the heartbreaking loss of their son at 20 weeks last fall.

Kendra Peterson was already on high alert and her pregnancy with her daughter, Piper, was not easy.

“We had many indicators that things weren’t going as planned,” she said. “It wasn’t the perfect pregnancy as we hoped.”

But this mother didn’t expect an app on her phone to help save her baby’s life.

“I absolutely believe her. If I hadn’t counted her kicks and gone to the hospital that day, honestly I don’t know how long she would have survived,” said Peterson.

Count the Kicks is a new campaign in Indiana.

In Iowa, where it has been used for more than 10 years, it has reduced incidents of stillbirth by 32%. This state has gone from having one of the worst stillbirth rates in the country to one of the best.

Count the Kicks is an app Kendra heard about on a moms group on Facebook and during a prenatal visit. It’s a way to monitor your baby during the third trimester.

The app is free. It’s simple. And healthcare providers say the evidence shows it works.

“That’s the key. It’s easy to use. You can use it anywhere and anytime and that’s what makes it a game changer,” said Lori Riester, RN and Anthem OB practice consultant. “It lets you check in on baby’s well-being, getting to know your baby’s movements.”

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The CDC says a change in fetal movement is one of the main warning signs that something is wrong during pregnancy.

The application is therefore a daily tracker.

“Once in the morning, once in the evening, around his most active times is when I would usually start counting his kicks,” Peterson said. “You would click on the little foot icon in the middle and start counting the kicks as you go.”

“Once you hit ten kicks, you can tag that and monitor it and you track baby’s progress,” Riester said. “It also asks about the strength of the movements, what type of movements it is and you should start noticing a pattern very quickly.”

“You’re just trying to start learning your baby’s typical movements so you know if anything is off or maybe you can feel he’s in distress,” Peterson said.

Peterson noticed something this summer.

“She was moving and she was kicking, but the kicks seemed to be weaker,” Peterson explained. “I think I got four in an hour instead of a typical ten in an hour.”

After a few more checks, noticing similar changes, she called her OB. At the hospital, after a few tests confirmed a problem, doctors decided to deliver Piper by C-section 12 weeks early.

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In fact, she had damage to her placenta. Piper hadn’t received enough oxygen and nutrients.

Now she’s in the NICU, getting stronger every day.

Peterson said counting kicks helped her survive.

“So I just want to encourage all moms to get this app,” she said. “If something is wrong, speak to your doctor immediately, because it is so worth it.”

It was for this family. Piper will soon join her older sisters at home.

The app is available for download in your phone’s app store.

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