Fetal deaths (3-year average)

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Fetal deaths are sometimes referred to as stillbirths or miscarriages. Fetal deaths are deaths prior to the complete expulsion or extraction of a fetus from the mother, irrespective of the duration of pregnancy.

 

Fetal death numbers reported here are the average number of fetal deaths in three consecutive calendar years (N=(sum of total fetal deaths for 3 years)/3).

 

Rates represent the number of fetal deaths per 1,000 live births. Fetal death rates presented here are calculated by dividing the total number of fetal deaths in three consecutive calendar years by the total number of live births reported in the same period, and multiplying by 1,000.

Data Source: The data used for this measure come from Center for Health Statistics, Washington State Department of Health (DOH), Infant Death Data. Data were downloaded on May 18, 2016 from http://www.doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/VitalStatisticsData/InfantDeathData/InfantDeathTablesbyTopic.aspx (Infant Mortality Table F8).

The DOH combines information from the Washington State Birth and Death Certificate Systems to produce records of all infant deaths occurring in the state and nearly all infant deaths to residents of the state. Information about the birth is collected in hospitals and birth centers. Information about the death is collected by funeral directors from an informant (usually a family member).

S: Data estimate has been suppressed. Rates are not shown when the average number of fetal deaths over the three consecutive years is fewer than 5.

Footnotes: Updated May 2016 by Washington KIDS COUNT.

According to DOH, “the reporting of fetal deaths to the state is required only when the gestational period is twenty weeks or more. Similar information is collected for fetal deaths to mothers who live in Washington State, but deliver in another state or country. Thus, the Fetal Death Certificate System contains records on all fetal deaths occurring in the state and nearly all fetal deaths to residents of the state.”

“Fetal deaths are rare in annual terms. When the events are rare (small numbers) data may be affected by random fluctuations in the number of events between successive years. The effect of such random fluctuations on death rates is proportionately larger when the number of events is small. For example, one more fetal death has a larger numerical impact on an area with 3 deaths than it does on an area with 300 deaths. Because of these random fluctuations, the rates based on small numbers may not be as reliable as those based on larger numbers in the sense that they may have limited predictive value.”

Department of Health technical notes on measurement issues are available at http://www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/5300/TechnicalNotes.pdf.