Trends in Fetal and Perinatal Mortality in the United States, 2006–2012

Changes in outcomes among live births were seen during 2006–2012. For example, the percentage of births delivered at 39 weeks of gestation or more rose and preterm birth and infant mortality rates declined. Limited recent data, however, have been available on fetal mortality. This information is essential for a more complete understanding of pregnancy health in the United States.

A new NCHS report focuses on fetal deaths (spontaneous intrauterine deaths) at 20 weeks of gestation or more, sometimes referred to as stillbirths, using recently released national data. Trends are examined for fetal mortality for 2000–2012, focusing on the period 2006–2012, and for perinatal mortality by race and Hispanic origin for 2006–2011 (the latest year available) and by state for combined years 2005–2006 and 2010–2011.

Key Findings from the Report:

  • Following declines from 2000 through 2006, total, early, and late fetal mortality rates were generally flat from 2006 through 2012.
  • Fetal mortality rates were essentially stable for non-Hispanic white (4.91 per 1,000 in 2012), non-Hispanic black (10.67), and Hispanic women (5.33) during 2006–2012.
  • The overall perinatal mortality rate declined 4% from 6.51 per 1,000 in 2006 to 6.26 in 2011, with an 8% decline for non-Hispanic black women (10.80 in 2011).
  • The perinatal mortality rate declined in 14 states, rose in 1 state, and was unchanged in 35 states and the District of Columbia between 2005–2006 and 2010–2011.


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