Objective: To assess the ability of the member states of the European Union to produce the indicators recommended by the PERISTAT project on perinatal health indicators and to provide an overview of fetal and infant health outcomes for these countries according to the information now available.
Methods: We used data from the PERISTAT survey of data providers to compute PERISTAT indicators of fetal and infant health.
Results: National data on fetal mortality are available for all countries, but vary in their definitions. To adjust for these differences in definition, PERISTAT recommends presenting rates by gestational age and birth weight. Not all countries can provide neonatal mortality data by gestational age, birth weight or plurality, as recommended by PERISTAT. Few countries in Europe can report infant mortality rates by birth weight and gestational age. The other recommended indicators are available to varying degrees.
Conclusions: This overview, which shows that Europe can produce a variety of indicators for monitoring the health of its new-borns, indicates that some key dimensions of perinatal health cannot now be measured with routine health statistics and reveals important disparities in health outcomes throughout Europe. For most indicators, the highest values are between 50 and 100% higher than the lowest values. The reasons for these variations and their importance for the surveillance of perinatal health are discussed.