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Ann Epidemiol. 2001 Apr;11(3):186-93.

Validation of birth certificate data. A study of women in New Jersey's HealthStart program.

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Office of Population Research, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544-2091, USA.



This study assesses the accuracy of 1989-1992 birth certificate data from New Jersey for a group of high-risk women.


Birth records were linked to data on women who participated in HealthStart, a program of enriched prenatal care for pregnant women on Medicaid. Concordance was assessed for all variables common to the two data sets.


The birth records had accurate reporting of birth-weight, demographic characteristics, and most methods of delivery. Prenatal care use was over-reported, and alcohol, tobacco, transfer status, medical risk factors, obstetric procedures, as well as complications of labor and delivery were underreported.


While many variables are reported very accurately on birth certificates, other measures must be used cautiously. Analyses using birth certificate data, particularly those focusing on high-risk women, need to take the low levels of sensitivity for many risk factors into consideration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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