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Healthy Birth Day, Inc. Receives $72,000 Grant from Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation

Posted on June 25, 2021 in Foundation


Evidence shows that receiving dental care during pregnancy can improve the health of both baby and mother by reducing the risk of gum disease and poor birth outcomes. Thanks to a $72,000 System and Capacity Building Grant from Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, Healthy Birth Day, Inc. is expanding to provide information and education about the connection between oral and overall health. This expanded outreach is specifically focused on expectant mothers most at risk of losing a baby – women of color, refugees, lower income individuals and teenagers.

The new expansion project builds on the success of the Delta Dental Ignite and Innovation Planning Grant received by Healthy Birth Day, Inc. in 2020. The organization’s successful Count the Kicks app and campaign helps pregnant mothers monitor baby’s kicks and improves overall healthy birth results. Information will be added to the app that helps expectant parents access dental care. In addition, provider training and education will be increased and enhanced on the importance of dental care during pregnancy.  

“This program squarely addresses the strategic goals of the Foundation - reducing barriers and improving access to dental care through the use of technology and integrated partnerships with organizations like I-Smile, county health departments and other community-based organizations,” said Jeff Russell, president and CEO, Delta Dental of Iowa. “Together, we can address health disparities and increase awareness of the connection between oral and overall health.”

According to the 2019 Iowa’s Barriers to Prenatal Care Project only 44% of non-Hispanic Black women and only 46% of Asian Pacific Islanders visited a dentist during their pregnancy. The stillbirth rate for Black women in Iowa is more than double that of white women. Populations that have higher risks of diabetes and heart disease are often at higher risk of oral health issues and gum disease, which has a direct impact on poor birth outcomes. By reaching out to medical clinics and developing stronger ties with dentists and other partners to educate them on Count the Kicks and dental care for pregnant mothers, Healthy Birth Day, Inc. believes the impact on stillbirths will be significant.

“Iowa health officials have noted that since Count the Kicks was introduced a decade ago, the stillbirth rate in Iowa has decreased nearly 32 percent. We are the only organization solely focused on preventing stillbirths,” said Emily Price, Executive Director at Healthy Birth Day, Inc. “But we must expand our partnerships to address the gap in health equity for women of color and those most at risk during pregnancy. This Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation grant helps us connect with and educate medical providers, dentists and partners while improving our platforms and increasing healthy births.”

Delta Dental has committed more than $49 million since 2002 to improve the health and wellness of Iowans. To view the Delta Dental of Iowa 2020 annual report, click here. For more information about Delta Dental of Iowa Foundation, visit our website.