• Phase 1 of project launches in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines
  • Supporters of the cause include 99.co, Child Bereavement Support (Singapore), Pregnancy Singapore and Speedoc
  • Three main call-to-actions: counting baby kicks, sleeping on the left side and not smoking during pregnancy

15 July 2020 – ​theAsianparent​, Southeast Asia’s largest community platform for parents with a monthly network reach of 35 million users, has launched Project Sidekicks in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Titled Project Sidekicks after two of the main driving points – counting baby kicks and sleeping on the left side, the cause aims to reduce stillbirth rates in these countries by 10% across the next 3 years. Supporters of the cause include 99.co, Angel Hearts, Babes, Child Bereavement Support (Singapore), DoctorOnCall.com.my, Mama’s Choice, Pregnancy Singapore, Photobook Worldwide, Speedoc and StudyCat.

According to the World Health Organisation (“WHO”), approximately 2.6 million stillbirths occurred globally in 2015, of which half of these babies were still alive when wheeled into the delivery room1​ ​. Majority of stillbirths are actually preventable1​ ​. Based on the stillbirth rates published by WHO2​ and fertility rates published by the United Nations3​ ​, approximately 105,000 stillbirths occur yearly in Southeast Asia.

“As a parenting community platform, we strive to be an inclusive community that supports parents. Realising that we could do more to help parents who unfortunately experience loss of their children inspired us to use our platform and resources to launch Project Sidekicks. We are grateful for all the supporters of the campaign who will be contributing to stillbirth-risk reduction. By leveraging each of our strengths and reach, I strongly believe that Project Sidekicks will be able to help ensure more parents have healthy pregnancies and save more babies, with a 10% reduction in stillbirth rates in Southeast Asia over the next three years,” said Roshni Mahtani Cheung, Founder & Group CEO of theAsianparent Group.

There are successful case studies that illustrate how education, antenatal care and taking on measures such as counting kicks and sleeping on the side can reduce the risks of stillbirth occurrence. The Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre at the University of Manchester, through its network of five research clinics that offer specialist care to women at high risk of pregnancy loss, has been able to translate research breakthroughs into clinical practice, resulting in a 32% reduction in the stillbirth rate in the Greater Manchester area against a much lower national average rate of reduction4​ ​. ​The Scottish Patient Safety Programme’s Maternity and Children Quality Improvement Collaborative, with process measures designed around fetal growth, fetal movement and fetal monitoring, has supported an aggregated reduction in stillbirth in Scotland of 22.5% since 20135​ ​.

In relation to the Project Sidekicks cause, here are some thoughts from fellow supporters.

“​Child Bereavement Support (Singapore) has supported countless parents bereaved by miscarriage and stillbirth since we started in 2005. It is painful to see their broken hearts and shattered dreams as they face the reality of having lost their unborn baby, no matter how young or close to full term the baby was. If technology can help in any way to reduce the risk of losing a baby and offering a safe monitoring system during the pregnancy, this would bring much assurance and confidence to parents as they journey with their baby towards a beautiful birth.​” – ​Valerie Lim & Sharanjit Dhaliwal, Child Bereavement Support (Singapore)

“​As a first-time father myself, I vividly remember the natural fear of something going wrong throughout every stage of our pregnancy. This is a highly emotional issue and I’m glad that theAsianparent is bringing attention to how stillbirths can be prevented and helping parents through such a difficult time. Project Sidekicks has Speedoc’s full support.” – ​Anton Myroshnychenko, Chief Operating Officer of Speedoc

“​We applaud that the importance of good-quality care is emphasised in the guidelines for the management of stillbirth & maternal health. Thus, Project Sidekicks is indeed a great initiative to address the occurrence of stillbirth, plus the social stigma that’s associated with it,.” – ​Hazwan Najib, Co-Founder/Director of DoctorOnCall.com.my ​

“​With great power comes great responsibility” is a popular line from one of my favorite movies, Spiderman. As an obstetrician gynecologist, I see soon-to-be mothers everyday. We deliver babies, we treat pregnancy complications, we counsel, we educate, we care. Through this so-called power, we dedicate ourselves to the pursuits of wellness, research and compassion for others. Through this commitment, we oversee their care personally. I’m happy to be part of Project Sidekicks because with this advocacy, I am able to reach out and educate more moms, dads and parents-to-be on how to have a healthy and happy pregnancy,.” – ​Dr. Kristen, ​Obstetrician/Gynecologist at ​Providence Hospital and Metropolitan Medical Center

As Janet Jaffe, PhD, a clinical psychologist and co-founder of the Centre for Reproductive Psychology in San Diego once shared, “One of the biggest differences is that losing a pregnancy is a loss of the future rather than of the past. As painful as it is to lose a loved one, you still have memories of that person. You can look at pictures and share stories. With a pregnancy loss, you only have what’s in your imagination. The story you have in your head about that future child just vanishes.”

With the intention of launching Project Sidekicks in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand to help more parents, theAsianparent is looking for partners to join forces and make this dream of reducing stillbirth in Southeast Asia a reality. If you are interested to contribute to the cause individually or through your organisation, please email ​[email protected] or go to www.project-sidekicks.com​.