RALEIGH, N.C. — In 2015, Ana Lepe Vick and her family experienced a devastating loss. It’s what’s fueled her advocacy work since then.

Lepe Vick and her husband are a founding family of Push for Empowered Pregnancy, an organization advocating for stillborn prevention education and care.

What You Need To Know

  • This is National Women's Health Week

  • Parents, advocates and lawmakers spoke about the need for prevention work around stillbirths

  • Sen. Sydney Batch said hundreds of stillbirths could have been prevented in North Carolina last year

  • Ana Lepe Vick lost her son in 2015 and now works in prevention and education

They lost their son Owen in 2015. She said she had a “textbook perfect pregnancy,” but when she started to feel weak her doctor told her that her iron was low.

The issue didn’t go away, and she ended up driving herself to the emergency room one day. An hour later, she was having a crash C-section, but it was too late. Owen didn’t make it after making it almost to full term.

“I didn't know. I didn't hear about stillbirth at the time. I didn't know there was a possibility that you and your child can have something going on internally that you don't see, and the doctors don't even see it,” she said.

That traumatic time is what led her to advocate in Washington, D.C., and now the North Carolina legislature. On Wednesday, their family joined other advocates and lawmakers speaking about stillbirth prevention during National Women’s Health Week.

Sen. Sydney Batch of Wake County spoke about how this is an preventable epidemic.

“In 2023 alone, 660 babies were born still in our state, and an estimated 211 of these babies could have been saved with evidence-based programs and timely intervention. These are not just numbers. They represent families devastated by the loss of a child,” Batch said.

It’s a timely message during the National Women’s Health Week, because a stillbirth can have lasting impacts on mothers, both mentally and physically.

Lepe Vick and the other parents spoke about the importance of awareness, education and prevention efforts. They spoke about kick counting, and the app they promote, Count the Kicks.

Parents need to know the signs of danger, they said.

“It took me five years, actually, to find the cause of death. So what we now know is due to the cord being compressed the last days of that pregnancy,” Lepe Vick said. “And so the information that you learn from all that and the trauma, well, you can take it many ways, but for me, it was just a catalyst to try and do something to prevent it from happening.”