Updated: Oct 8, 2021
NYC Onesie Walk Launches #StillCounts Campaign to Raise Awareness of Stillbirth Crisis Facing NYC and the Nation
NYC Onesie Walk: On the Start of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, PUSH Volunteers & Allies to Walk Across Manhattan Holding up 900 Infant Onesies -- Representing the 900 Babies Born Still in NYC Every Year -- to Raise Awareness of Stillbirth Crisis;
Why We Need Change: Stillbirth Still Happens. 23,000 Babies are Born Still Every Year in the United States, Including 900 in NYC; Many of These Deaths are Preventable;
New Coalition Pushing for Change: PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy, Founded by Bereaved Families & Medical Providers, along with Maternal Health Allies at Healthy Birth Day, Inc. are on a Mission to End Preventable Stillbirth and Empower Expectant Parents with Tools for Stillbirth Prevention;
NEW YORK - On Friday, October 1st, 2021 PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy (PUSH), a coalition of bereaved parents, medical providers, and allies on a mission to end preventable stillbirth in the United States, launched its #StillCounts campaign with the NYC Onesie Walk to raise awareness of the stillbirth crisis facing New York City and the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 23,000 babies are born still every year in the United States, including 900 babies in New York City (Vital Statistics of NY State).
“Two days before my due date in 2013, I walked into the hospital in labor thinking I was finally bringing home my baby girl. Instead, I walked out with an empty onesie and empty arms. Her name was Alana, and she #StillCounts,” says PUSH Executive Director Samantha Banerjee. “Every day, 65 U.S. families face the same brutal end to their otherwise normal and healthy pregnancies, and most of us never even heard the word ‘stillbirth’ before it happened to us. Families like mine were robbed of the chance to save our babies because no one ever bothered to inform us that stillbirth is a risk.”
The #StillCounts campaign kicked off with the first NYC Onesie Walk, where more than 35 PUSH volunteers marched across Manhattan holding a clothesline of 900 infant onesies, representing the 900 babies born still in New York City every year. The powerful demonstration was designed to visualize the grave extent of the stillbirth crisis in the five boroughs today, with each onesie signifying a baby that tragically did not make it home.
Prior to the NYC Onesie Walk, PUSH volunteers gathered for a press conference outside Central Park to formally kick off the #StillCounts national campaign. The group of babyloss families shared their stories about stillbirth to raise awareness that stillbirth still happens, and to empower expectant families with the information and resources they need to lower their risk of stillbirth.
"The silence around stillbirth is lethal." --Samantha Banerjee, PUSH Executive Director @ #StillCounts NYC Onesie Walk
PUSH and allies like Healthy Birth Day, Inc. the nonprofit organization behind the Count the Kicks stillbirth prevention campaign, are fighting to kickstart the pace of change in the United States using big, bold, innovative action to save as many babies' lives as possible, as quickly as possible.
“Research shows a change in a baby’s movements could be the earliest, and sometimes only indication that something may be wrong with a pregnancy. The FREE Count the Kicks app helps expectant parents get to know what is normal for their baby so they can contact their provider right away if there is a change. By counting kicks every day in the third trimester, expectant parents can be more in tune with their bodies and their babies, and let their provider know when something feels off,” said Emily Price, Executive Director for Healthy Birth Day, Inc.
"Families deserve to know that stillbirth still happens, even in healthy, low-risk pregnancies like mine." --Samantha Banerjee, PUSH Executive Director @ #StillCounts NYC Onesie Walk
“I never doubted that my daughter would be born alive, as stillbirth was never talked about during my pregnancy. I also had no information about counting kicks or understanding my daughter's specific movement patterns,” PUSH Legislative Lead Abigail Wallace recounted. “Once we got to the end of pregnancy I thought we would get a living child - that was the deal. Yet at 40+1, during labor, she died due to a cord accident. I felt like I had failed her.”
“1 in 170 US pregnancies end in stillbirth. The odds of being killed in a plane crash are only 1 in 11 million, but we don't shy away from educating every single passenger on every single flight what to do in the event of an emergency. Why the double standard?” PUSH Medical Co-Director Fernanda Sheridan asks. “We’re losing the same number of lives to stillbirth as if a plane full of babies crashed every week.”
“I believe Margot was saved as a result of several puzzle pieces all being in place at the time of her birth. Knowing about and utilizing the Count the Kicks app empowered me to trust my instincts when I felt something was wrong with my baby; having a provider who believed me when I mentioned my concerns; and knowing about stillbirth from other mothers sharing their stories all helped to save Margot. I don’t believe mothers should have to be lucky in order to bring home a healthy baby,” said Cathleen Wolff, a baby save mom and Kentucky Ambassador for Count the Kicks.
The CDC defines a stillbirth as the death of a baby in utero at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Many of these deaths are otherwise healthy babies and occur in normal, uneventful, low-risk pregnancies. With better awareness and simple prevention strategies, a significant portion of these babies could be saved, especially those that occur in the 3rd trimester.
23,000 babies are born still in the U.S. every year, including 900 in NYC - that’s 1 in 170 pregnancies
65 babies are lost to stillbirth every day in the U.S. - that’s three kindergarten classes every single day
Black mothers are twice as likely to suffer a stillbirth, compared to other races (CDC Wonder)
Research shows that at least 25% of U.S. stillbirths are preventable; for term pregnancies (37+ weeks), that jumps to nearly half (47%) of stillbirths
In the first 10 years of the Count the Kicks campaign in Iowa (2008-2018), the state’s stillbirth rate decreased nearly 32% while the rest of the country remained relatively stagnant.
Stillbirth is closely linked to maternal mortality and morbidity - mothers who deliver a stillborn baby are almost five times as likely to experience severe maternal complications
Stillbirth is not uncommon: the chance of suffering a stillbirth is thirty times the chance of having a Covid-19 breakthrough infection
The risk of stillbirth at term increases exponentially the longer the pregnancy goes, and in fact, doubles after 40 weeks
Stillbirth claims more children’s lives in the U.S. each year than prematurity, SIDS, car accidents, drowning, guns, fire, flu, poison, and listeria COMBINED. (Graphic)
The U.S. ranks 48th out of 49 developed nations in annual rate of reduction (ARR) of stillbirth. This is unacceptable.
PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy, Healthy Birth Day, Inc. and other allies are joining together in the name of all babies born still to demand change. They are asking that stillbirth be explicitly included in the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant to encourage states to make stillbirth prevention a priority by educating families about empowered pregnancy tools such as the free Count the Kicks fetal movement tracking app and educational materials.
*The 900 onesies that were donated for the Onesie Walk will be distributed to families in need by NYC Mammas Give Back, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides pregnancy, postpartum, infant, and early childhood essentials and support to agencies and shelters in the NYC area serving pregnant women, families, and children (ages 0-5) experiencing homelessness and poverty.
Missed the Onesie Walk on October 1st? Re-live all the action with our live coverage on IG Live! Recording available here.
More photos & videos from the NYC Onesie Walk and the #StillCounts kickoff can be found here.
About PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy
We're on a mission to end preventable stillbirth, and we're not taking no for an answer.
65 babies are dying in the second half of pregnancy every single day in the U.S. - that’s 23,000 each year, most of them otherwise healthy, and all of them deeply loved. Many of these babies were our babies, and many of them could have been saved.
PUSH for Empowered Pregnancy exists for one reason, and one reason alone: to kickstart the pace of change in the US using big, bold, innovative action to save as many babies' lives as possible, as quickly as possible. We are a diverse coalition of bereaved parents from around the country, and we are working closely with trailblazing medical researchers, courageous doctors, and other hardworking allies to drive down the incidence of stillbirth in the United States over the next decade by any means necessary.
No family should have to endure what we have endured. We are saying ENOUGH.
#UnitedWePush For Families, For Babies. For Change.
Learn more at www.pushpregnancy.org
PUSH Press Contact: Marny Smith, 332-244-PUSH (7874) x200, email@example.com
About Healthy Birth Day, Inc. & Count the Kicks
Healthy Birth Day, Inc., the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that created the Count the Kicks public health campaign, has a growing network of supportive doctors, nurses, hospitals and clinics that give Count the Kicks materials to their patients in 14 states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina and West Virginia. Count the Kicks has been featured on Good Morning America, and in The Washington Post and O Magazine, and produced a national PSA that has generated more than 300 million viewer impressions. The free Count the Kicks app has been downloaded more than 160,000 times in all 50 states and more than 140 countries.
Count the Kicks is committed to eliminating racial disparities in stillbirth and preventing preventable stillbirths by making kick counting common practice for all expectant parents in the third trimester of pregnancy. In Iowa, where Count the Kicks began, the state’s stillbirth rate dropped nearly 32 percent in the first 10 years of the campaign (2008-2018). Learn more about their mission to save 7,500 babies every year at CountTheKicks.org.
HBD Press Contact: Kimberly Isburg, 515-494-5115, firstname.lastname@example.org