DefinitionThe number of resident fetal deaths of 20 or more weeks gestation per 1,000 resident live births plus fetal deaths of 20 or more weeks of gestation in the same year. A fetal death is death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception; the fetus shows no signs of life such as breathing or beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles.
NumeratorNumber of resident fetal deaths of 20 or more weeks gestation in a given year
DenominatorNumber of live births plus fetal deaths of 20 or more weeks gestation to resident mothers in the same year
Data Interpretation IssuesA '''fetal death''' is death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception; the fetus shows no signs of life such as breathing or beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles. Fetal deaths are also referred to as stillbirths, miscarriages, or spontaneous abortions. New Jersey law requires the reporting of all fetal deaths of 20 or more weeks gestational age. An induced termination of pregnancy (ITOP) is a kind of fetal death, however ITOPs are reported separately from spontaneous fetal deaths. In New Jersey health data reports, fetal death refers only to spontaneous fetal deaths.
While interjurisdictional exchange of vital records is required for births and deaths, it is voluntary for fetal deaths. In the early 2000s, New Jersey stopped receiving fetal death records for New Jersey residents who experienced a fetal death out of state. With the publication of fetal death data on CDC WONDER in 2018, an accurate count of resident fetal deaths was available for the first time in nearly 15 years and our data files were updated accordingly.
Why Is This Important?The fetal mortality rate is a critical measure of a population's health and is an important indicator of fetal and maternal health status and medical care.
Healthy People Objective: Fetal deaths at 20 or more weeks of gestationU.S. Target: 5.6 fetal deaths per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths
How Are We Doing?There are approximately 700 fetal deaths of 20 or more weeks gestation among New Jersey residents each year. The New Jersey fetal mortality rate (FMR) for 2018 was 6.9 fetal deaths per 1,000 live births plus fetal deaths. The rate among non-Hispanic black mothers is two to three times the rates among other racial/ethnic groups.
How Do We Compare With the U.S.?The fetal mortality rate for New Jersey is above that of the U.S. as a whole.
What Is Being Done?The Division of [http://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/ 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 fetal mortality.
The Department of Health has provided state funding to improve perinatal public health services and birth outcomes in communities. Fetal deaths are reviewed by the [https://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/maternalchild/mchepi/mortality-reviews/ 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.