Fetal death refers to the spontaneous intrauterine death of a fetus at any time during pregnancy.
Fetal deaths later in pregnancy (at 20 weeks of gestation or more, or 28 weeks or more, for example)
are also sometimes referred to as stillbirths. In the United States,
State laws require the reporting of fetal deaths, and
Federal law mandates national collection and publication of fetal death data.
Most states report fetal deaths of 20 weeks of gestation or more and/or 350 grams delivery weight.
However, a few states report fetal deaths for all periods of gestation.
Fetal death data are published annually by the National Center for Health Statistics,
in reports and as individual-record data files.
This data collection provides the number of fetal deaths at 20 weeks gestation or more,
occurring within the United States to U.S. residents in years 2005-2019.
Information are derived from Report of Fetal Death forms, both the
1989 revision of the U.S. Standard Report of Fetal Death (unrevised) and the
2003 revision of the U.S. Standard Report of Fetal Death (revised).
Data are available by place: region, division, and state of mother's residence;
time: year, month and weekday of death;
parental characteristics including maternal race and ethnicity, maternal age, maternal marital status, maternal weight gain, and paternal age;
fetal characteristics including gestational age, sex, delivery weight, plurality, live and total birth order,
delivery place, delivery method, use of forceps or vacuum, breech presentation, medical attendant;
maternal risk factors including diabetes, chronic hypertension, pregnancy-associated hypertension and eclamspia;
congenital anomalies of the fetus, including anencephalus, Spina Bifida / meningocele, omphalocele / gastroschisis,
cleft lip / palate, and Downs syndrome.
Data Use Restrictions:
The Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 242m(d)) provides that the data collected by the
National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) may be used only for the purpose for which they were obtained;
any effort to determine the identity of any reported cases, or to use the information for any purpose other
than for health statistical reporting and analysis, is against the law. Therefore users will:
- Use these data for health statistical reporting and analysis only.
- For sub-national geography, do not present or publish death counts of 9 or fewer (in figures, graphs, maps, tables, etc.).
- Make no attempt to learn the identity of any person or establishment included in these data.
- Make no disclosure or other use of the identity of any person or establishment discovered inadvertently
and advise the NCHS Confidentiality Officer of any such discovery.
National Center for Health Statistics
3311 Toledo Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782
Sanctions for Violating Rules:
Researchers who violate the terms of the data use restrictions will lose access to WONDER
and their sponsors and institutions will be notified. Researchers who are suspected of
violating the rules may be prevented from using WONDER until an investigation can be completed.
Deliberately making a false statement in any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or
agency of the Federal government violates 18 USC 1001 and is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000
or up to 5 years in prison, or both.