When Emily Eekhoff of Des Moines, Iowa entered the third trimester of her pregnancy, she began using the Count the Kicks app. The app, which is a non-profit based in Des Moines, encourages expecting mothers to track their baby's movement patterns and get in touch with their medical providers if they notice a significant change.
Eekhoff was 33 weeks pregnant when she sensed something was off because her baby's movements had slowed. "We were a little scared that things weren't right," she recalls. Eekhoff and her husband went to the hospital, where doctors discovered that the baby's umbilical cord had become wrapped around her neck three times.
Doctors performed an emergency C-section and delivered Eekhoff's baby, Ruby. After 20 days in the NICU, Ruby is now at home with her parents.
"We are really thankful that we [went to the hospital]," Eekhoff says.
According to Count the Kicks Executive Director Emily Price, the cause of a baby's reduced movements isn't all that different from an adult's. "When we don't feel well, we move less. And we want to stay on the couch or bed. It's the same thing for babies. When they don't feel well, they move less," Price explains.
Count the Kicks isn't the only app that allows expectant moms to clock their baby's every movement. These apps undoubtedly serve an important purpose and, in Eekhoff's case, she believes it saved her little girl's life.
But some pregnant women feel it's detrimental to their mental state to track every single movement their baby makes.
Knowledge is power, and being aware of the existence of these apps and the purpose they serve can only be beneficial. However, there's no "right" or "wrong" decision when it comes to using apps like Count the Kicks. It's really up to each individual woman to decide what's healthiest for her and her baby.