Cause of Fetal Death: Data From the Fetal Death Report, 2014

Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2016 Oct;65(7):1-25.


Objectives-This report presents, for the first time, data on cause of fetal death by selected characteristics such as maternal age, Hispanic origin and race, fetal sex, period of gestation, and birthweight. Methods-Descriptive tabulations of data collected on the 2003 U.S. Standard Report of Fetal Death are presented for fetal deaths occurring at 20 weeks of gestation or more in a reporting area of 35 states, New York City, and the District of Columbia. This area represents 66% of fetal deaths in the United States. Causes of death are processed in accordance with the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision. Final data for 2014 are reported. Results-Five selected causes account for about 90% of fetal deaths in the reporting area: Fetal death of unspecified cause; Fetus affected by complications of placenta, cord and membranes; Fetus affected by maternal complications of pregnancy; Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities; and Fetus affected by maternal conditions that may be unrelated to present pregnancy. Conclusions-Cause-of-fetal-death data reported on vital records are not subject to tightly controlled study protocols, but they provide data for a larger proportion of the country than other studies. While there was limited variation among the selected causes across the maternal and fetal characteristics examined, many variations observed are consistent with associations that have been documented in research literature.

Keywords: fetal mortality • initiating cause of death • selected cause of death • National Vital Statistics System..

MeSH terms

  • Cause of Death / trends*
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / etiology*
  • Humans
  • International Classification of Diseases
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Vital Statistics