Since 1983 the monitoring of perinatal deaths in Scotland has been incorporated into the established data collection system which monitors maternal and child health in Scotland. This paper describes the transition from a research project to the routine system and the extension of the data collection to include paediatric and pathological findings. This information is provided by local co-ordinators in active clinical practice. Baseline data are obtained from the routine maternity discharge document (SMR 2). A summary of the findings for the first 4 years of the study, 1977, 1979, 1980 and 1981 is presented, including information about birthweight and gestation-specific perinatal mortality rates; perinatal mortality rates by time of death in relation to labour and singleton and multiple perinatal mortality rates by the obstetric complication preceding the death.