Fetal death is defined as death prior to delivery of fetus, and which is not an induced termination of pregnancy. In PeriStats, data are presented for "late fetal deaths" and include those with a stated period of gestation 28 weeks or more. Late fetal mortality rates are computed as the number of fetal deaths at 28 weeks of gestation or more divided by the number of live births and fetal death at 28 weeks or more, multiplied by 1,000.
Perinatal death refers to one around the time of delivery. In PeriStats, perinatal mortality includes infant deaths less than 7 days of age and late fetal deaths at 28 weeks of gestation or more. Perinatal mortality rates are calculated as the number of infant deaths and fetal deaths divided by the number of live births and fetal deaths.
The number of live births plus fetal deaths in the specified gestational age group in the denominators for fetal and perinatal mortality rates represents the population at risk of a fetal and perinatal death. For late fetal mortality rates, the numerator is calculated using data from the Fetal Death Data File from NCHS, and the denominator is calculated using data from the Final Natality File from NCHS for the number of live births and the Fetal Death Data File for the number of fetal deaths at 28 weeks gestation or more. For perinatal mortality rates, the numerator is calculated using data from Fetal Death Data File from NCHS and numerator file in Period Linked Birth/Infant Death Data Set, and the denominator is calculated using the Fetal Death Data file from NCHS and the Live Birth Denominator File in Period Linked Birth/infant Death Data Set that accompanies the numerator file.
Reporting requirement for fetal death data
Reporting requirements for fetal deaths vary by state and these differences have important implications for comparisons of fetal and perinatal mortality rates by state. (1) The majority of states require reporting of fetal deaths of 20 weeks of gestation or more, or a minimum of 350 grams birthweight or some combination of the two. More information about state reporting requirements can be found in Fetal and Perinatal Mortality, United States (National Vital Statistic Reports, NCHS). PeriStats presents late fetal mortality rates in order to account for these differences and provide more comparable data across states.
Fetal and Perinatal Mortality by Maternal Race/Ethnicity
Before 2005, Oklahoma did not report Hispanic origin of mother. Therefore, 2002-2004 and 2003-2005 averages of US, region and HHS region for late fetal and perinatal mortality rates by race/ethnicity exclude Oklahoma.
City-Level Fetal and Perinatal Mortality Rates>
Due to issues in reporting, fetal and perinatal mortality rates for Albuquerque, New Mexico and Tulsa, Oklahoma are not available on PeriStats.
The 2003 Revision of the U.S. Standard Report of Fetal Death
Because the variables included in the PeriStats are comparable between the 1998 and 2003 revisions, the state implementation of the 2003 revision has little or no effect on the data. (1) To date the following states on the PeriStats web site have implemented the 2003 revision:
- 2003: MI(partially), WA
- 2004: ID, UT, KY(mid-year), OK(mid-year)
- 2005: KS, MD, NE, NH, SD
This section of the web site will be updated as additional states implement the 2003 U.S. Standard Certificate of Death.
1. MacDorman MF, Hoyert DL, Martin JA, Munson ML, Hamilton BE. Fetal and Perinatal Mortality, United States, 2003. National vital statistics reports; vol 55 no 6. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2007.