Kick counting is now being recognized as the first proactive strategy to help reduce the risk of stillbirth. By performing a kick count every day during your third trimester, you can help your doctor monitor your baby’s health. To learn about kick counting, visit the Kicks Count! section of the website.
Consider expanded newborn screening for your baby. Many newborn screening tests are available to detect possible birth defects, disorders and other conditions that cannot be seen in the newborn but can cause physical problems, mental retardation and in some cases, even death.
However, laws and regulations on what tests are standard for newborns vary from hospital to hospital. Some hospitals test for as little as four disorders and some for as many as 30. You can consult the National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center to find out what tests are required in your state. Their website also lists commercial and nonprofit laboratories that provide comprehensive newborn screening for parents considering having their baby tested for more disorders than those screened for in their state.
Banking your baby’s umbilical cord blood is something you might want to consider. Since it doesn’t hurt the baby, and the cord blood would be discarded anyway, many experts feel there is no reason not to bank your baby’s cord blood. The question for parents becomes whether to bank the cord blood in a private bank for personal use or in a public bank to help others with serious illnesses or disease.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions on umbilical cord blood banking to help in you make this important decision.