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Fetal Mortality Drops to Historic Low of 5.70 Per 1,000 in 2019

Fetal mortality rate was lower than 2018 for deaths occurring at 20 to 27 weeks, no different for deaths occurring at 28 or more weeks

TUESDAY, Oct. 26, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The fetal mortality rate at 20 or more weeks of gestation in the United States was 5.70 per 1,000 live births or fetal deaths in 2019, down 3 percent from 2018, according to the Oct. 26 National Vital Statistics Reports, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Elizabeth C.W. Gregory, M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues presented 2019 fetal mortality data for all fetal deaths with a stated or presumed period of gestation of 20 or more weeks.

The researchers found that in 2019, there were 21,478 fetal deaths at 20 or more weeks of gestation reported in the United States, with a fetal mortality rate of 5.70 fetal deaths per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths. This rate was 3.0 percent lower than in 2018 (5.89) and represented a historic low. In 2019, the fetal mortality rate was 2.98 for deaths occurring at 20 to 27 weeks of gestation, a 4 percent decrease from 3.11 in 2018. For deaths occurring at 28 or more weeks of gestation, the rate was not significantly lower in 2019 (2.73 versus 2.79). The fetal mortality rate was highest for non-Hispanic Black and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander women (10.41 and 10.03, respectively) in 2019, and it was lowest for non-Hispanic Asian women (4.02).

The highest fetal mortality rates were seen for women aged 40 years and older, women who smoked during pregnancy, and those with multiple-gestation pregnancies. In the 42-state and District of Columbia reporting area, five selected causes accounted for 89.9 percent of fetal deaths.

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