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Saved by an app: how new technology led to baby Ruby’s life-saving early delivery

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Ruby Eekoff was at risk of becoming a tragic statistic. However, thanks to a simple smartphone app, she is now a happy and healthy baby who is settling into life with her parents, Jeremy and Emily, and her older brother, Liam. The family appeared on Good Morning America to share Ruby’s remarkable birth story.

Emily downloaded the free app Count the Kicks, which was designed to help mothers track their babies’ activity level in the third trimester of pregnancy. The app sends a prompt to mothers to count the number of movements in a ten-minute period at the same time each day. By aggregating the data, mothers can ascertain the typical activity level for their unborn child and may discern any changes in the pattern.

In the case of Ruby, the number of movements underwent a significant decline on the day that Emily was 33 weeks pregnant. Emily observed a notable reduction in the frequency of movements and perceived a change in the quality of the kicks. She informed Good Morning America that “when she did move, it was really soft and not hard, like normal.” Emily had been monitoring Ruby’s movements since 28 weeks, thus enabling her to document Ruby’s typical activity patterns. The family expressed concern about the changes and proceeded to the hospital.

Subsequently, Ruby was delivered via emergency caesarian section. Medical professionals had identified that Ruby’s umbilical cord had wrapped around her three times, constricting her movement and potentially endangering her life. The family expressed immense joy at Ruby’s birth and attributed her survival to the app.

The group behind Count the Kicks was established by five mothers who had lost daughters to stillbirth or early infant loss. The women formed a bond and decided to channel their grief into stillbirth awareness and prevention. They launched the Count the Kicks app after learning that teaching women to perform movement counts in the third trimester reduced one hospital’s stillbirth rate by 30 percent.

Monitoring fetal movement is a straightforward method for mothers to assess their babies’ well-being in the weeks preceding birth. Count the Kicks, along with numerous other pregnancy apps, represents a powerful conduit for mothers to connect with their unborn children. The apps also illustrate the humanity of the preborn by including comprehensive data on growth and development, which demonstrates that preborn babies are not simply a random collection of cells.

Pregnancy Help News observed that even Good Morning America’s women’s health correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton inadvertently humanized preborn babies by referring to the “baby’s” movement in the segment following Ruby’s story. Ashton, who is a fellow with the anti-life American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, promptly corrected herself and referred to the baby as a “fetus.”

Despite her anti-life bias, Ashton did include an important and compassionate footnote to the story. She commended the app for saving Ruby’s life and raising awareness, but cautioned that the cause of most stillbirths remains unknown.

Although the app, which has been downloaded over 5,000 times since Ruby’s remarkable story, may assist in the prevention of other infant deaths and serve as a constructive method for mothers to monitor their babies, it is not a comprehensive solution. Mothers who experience the heartbreaking loss of a stillborn infant should not be led to believe that they are responsible for their child’s demise or that there was anything they could have done to save their precious baby.

For the time being, we celebrate the joyous occasion of Ruby’s birth. Her narrative illustrates the potential of simple tools that facilitate maternal-fetal bonding to have profound, life-saving implications.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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