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Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2009 Jan 28;57(8):1-19.

Fetal and perinatal mortality, United States, 2005.

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Vital Statistics, Hyattsville, MD 20782, USA.



This report presents 2005 fetal and perinatal mortality data by a variety of characteristics, including maternal age, marital status, race, Hispanic origin, and state of residence; and by fetal gestational age at delivery, birthweight, plurality, and sex. Trends in fetal and perinatal mortality are also examined.


Descriptive tabulations of data are presented and interpreted.


In 2005, there were 25,894 reported fetal deaths of 20 weeks of gestation or more in the United States. The U.S. fetal mortality rate was 6.22 fetal deaths of 20 weeks of gestation or more per 1000 live births and fetal deaths, not significantly different from the rate of 6.20 in 2004 or 6.23 in 2003. The fetal mortality rate declined slowly but steadily from 1990 to 2003, but did not decline from 2003 to 2005. Most of the decline in the overall fetal mortality rate from 1990 to 2003 was due to a decline in fetal deaths of 28 weeks of gestation or more; fetal deaths of 20-27 weeks did not decline. From 2003 to 2005, fetal mortality rates did not decline for either gestational age grouping. From 2003 to 2005, fetal mortality rates declined significantly for non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black women, but not for Hispanic, American Indian or Alaska Native (AIAN), or Asian or Pacific Islander women. In 2005, the fetal mortality rate for non-Hispanic black women (11.13) was 2.3 times the rate for non-Hispanic white women (4.79). The rate for AIAN women (6.17) was 29% higher, and the rate for Hispanic women (5.44) was 14% higher than the rate for non-Hispanic white women. Fetal mortality rates are elevated for a number of groups, including teenagers, women aged 35 years and over, unmarried women, and multiple deliveries. In 2005, one-half of fetal deaths of 20 weeks of gestation or more occurred at 20-27 weeks of gestation.

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