UnityPoint Health partners with student athletes to reduce stillbirths


UnityPoint Health partners with student athletes to reduce stillbirths

West Des Moines, Iowa (June 14, 2022) – UnityPoint Health is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor for Every Kick Counts, an initiative of the Count the Kicks public health campaign aimed at teaching expectant parents the importance of monitoring their babies’ movements in the third trimester of pregnancy. Every Kick Counts allows student athletes to give back to their communities and do something bigger than themselves by raising funds and awareness to improve birth outcomes. And leaders from both organizations are pleased to announce the partnership in the week leading up to Father’s Day.

Athletes who sign up can collect donations for Count the Kicks by receiving pledges for every score, punt, kick or success they have in their game. Every time they succeed, they raise money and potentially save lives. Athletes at all levels can leverage their personal networks and social media profiles to raise awareness for the cause. 

The CDC estimates that 23,500 babies in the United States are stillborn each year. This campaign supports UnityPoint Health’s efforts to provide expecting individuals with the right care and education to help improve the health of unborn babies. This includes identifying and addressing health inequities in the communities we serve. 

Research shows that certain populations experience the tragedy of stillbirth at much higher rates than others. For example, Black women are two times more likely to lose their baby to stillbirth compared to their white counterparts. Hispanic and Native American women are also at greater risk. In addition to supporting Every Kick Counts, UnityPoint Health: 

  • Supports the Visiting Nurse Association Community-based Iowa Black Doula Collective since Black women experience higher rates of infant mortality almost two times higher than the national average.
  • Partnered with Iowa Department of Public Health on the Center of Excellence grant to pilot a program that improves access to high quality, obstetric (OB) services for expectant individuals in rural parts of Iowa.
  • Is an active member of statewide Maternal Quality Care Collaboratives in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin – the three states served by UnityPoint Health – which promotes high reliability care that improves outcomes across the entire enterprise.

“UnityPoint Health is collaborating with community partners to help ensure all families have access to affordable health care,” says Dr. Diana Kaufman, Medical Director, Women’s Health Service Line, UnityPoint Health. “It’s important to reach families in a variety of ways. Every Kick Counts helps us do that by raising awareness about fetal movement through athletics in communities big and small across the country.”

Emily Price, Executive Director of Healthy Birth Day, Inc., the nonprofit organization that created Count the Kicks says the partnership with UnityPoint is important because of how many families will be reached. “UnityPoint Health is in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, and more than 21,000 babies were delivered at their hospitals in 2021,” said Price. “These real-time resources and tools for expectant families allow them to monitor their babies’ movement (and kicks!) so they feel empowered to contact their health care provider. The goal is working together, making informed decisions for the best birth outcome.”

Athletes looking to sign up, gather pledges, donate or to learn more, go to EveryKickCounts.com.