Monday, February 26, 2007
CDC Report on Fetal Mortality
The CDC released a report last week analyzing fetal mortality rates in the United States from 1990-2003. Although there is a general downward trend, racial and ethnic disparities persist. Here is the abstract:
Objectives—This report presents 2003 fetal and perinatal mortality data by a variety of characteristics, including maternal age, marital status, race, Hispanic origin, and state of residence; and by infant birthweight, gestational age, plurality, and sex. Trends in fetal and perinatal mortality are also examined. Methods—Descriptive tabulations of data are presented and interpreted.
Results—The U.S. fetal mortality rate in 2003 was 6.23 fetal deaths of 20 weeks of gestation or more per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths. Fetal and perinatal mortality rates have declined slowly but steadily from 1990 to 2003. Fetal mortality rates for 28 weeks of gestation or more have declined substantially, whereas those for 20–27 weeks of gestation have not declined. Fetal mortality rates are higher for a number of groups, including non-Hispanic black women, teenagers, women aged 35 years and over, unmarried women, and multiple deliveries. Over one-half (51 percent) of fetal deaths of 20 weeks of gestation or more occurred between 20 and 27 weeks of gestation.
From the CDC's press release:
The rate of fetal deaths occurring at 20 weeks of gestation or more (also known as stillbirths) declined substantially between 1990 and 2003, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although fetal mortality rates declined among all racial and ethnic groups from 1990-2003, the rate for non-Hispanic black women was more than double that of non-Hispanic white women (11.56 per 1,000 vs. 4.94 per 1,000).
“While we can certainly see progress has been made in preventing fetal mortality, it is also clear that disparities remain along race and ethnic lines,” said Dr. Marian MacDorman, lead author of the study.