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Important Facts for Perinatal Mortality Rate


Rate of fetal deaths at 28 or more weeks of gestation plus infant deaths less than 7 days of age in a given year, per 1,000 live births plus fetal deaths of 28 or more weeks gestation in the same year. [NCHS Definition I] Fetal death, which is also referred to as stillbirth or miscarriage, is defined as death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction of the fetus from its mother, where the fetus shows no signs of life. Additionally, only spontaneous fetal deaths, not induced or intentional terminations of pregnancy, are included in this definition.


Number of resident fetal deaths at 28 or more weeks of gestation plus resident infant deaths less than 7 days old in a given year


Number of live births plus fetal deaths of 28 or more weeks gestation to resident mothers in the same year

Data Interpretation Issues

This indicator uses NCHS Definition I of perinatal mortality. Please note the age for neonatal deaths and the gestational age for fetal deaths when making comparisons to other data sources as Definition II is more inclusive and therefore produces higher rates than Definition I.

Why Is This Important?

The perinatal death rate is a critical measure of a population's health. Fetal and neonatal mortality, the components of perinatal mortality, are important indicators of fetal, infant, and maternal health status and medical care (pre- and post-delivery).

Healthy People Objective: Fetal and infant deaths during perinatal period (28 weeks of gestation to 7 days after birth)

U.S. Target: 5.9 perinatal deaths per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths

How Are We Doing?

The perinatal mortality rate in New Jersey is slowly declining, yet disparities exist across the state and by maternal and infant characteristics. The rate among children of Black mothers is well above that of other race/ethnicity groups. Most of the counties with high perinatal mortality rates are in South Jersey. The leading causes of perinatal mortality are placenta, cord, and membrane complications and short gestation (preterm) and low birth weight.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Since 2000, the perinatal mortality rate among New Jersey residents has been consistently below that of the nation as a whole.

What Is Being Done?

The Division of [ Family Health Services] in the New Jersey Department of Health administers programs to enhance the health, safety and well-being of families and communities in New Jersey. Several programs are aimed at improving children's health, including reducing perinatal mortality. Information on programs that promote availability and use of [ prenatal care services] and programs that promote [ newborn health] are available online. The Department of Health has provided state funding to improve perinatal public health services and birth outcomes in communities. Perinatal deaths are reviewed by the [ Fetal Infant Mortality Review Team] and recommendations to reduce future deaths are made to public and private sources of care including hospitals, clinics, and health care professionals throughout the state. Efforts are continuing to increase public and provider awareness of needs for greater access to maternal preconception care, more awareness of risky preconception and post-conception behavior and for better general maternal health care.
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Tue, 10 December 2019 18:59:32 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

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