Validity of maternal and perinatal risk factors reported on fetal death certificates

Am J Public Health. 2005 Nov;95(11):1948-51. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2004.044305. Epub 2005 Sep 29.


We sought to estimate the accuracy, relative to maternal medical records, of perinatal risk factors recorded on fetal death certificates. We conducted a validation study of fetal death certificates among women who experienced fetal deaths between 1996 and 2001. The number of previous births, established diabetes, chronic hypertension, maternal fever, performance of autopsy, anencephaly, and Down syndrome had very high accuracy, while placental cord conditions and other chromosomal abnormalities were reported inaccurately. Additional population-based studies are needed to identify strategies to improve fetal death certificate data.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cause of Death
  • Death Certificates*
  • Female
  • Fetal Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / mortality
  • Risk Factors
  • Stillbirth / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology