Fetal death definition

Fetal death is defined as death prior to the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother. The fetus does not breathe or show any other evidence of life. Fetal deaths later in pregnancy, at 20 weeks of gestation or more, are also often referred to as stillbirths.

What is a fetal death certificate?

A fetal death certificate is a type of death certificate and a permanent legal record of the event of death. Because the information contained within the record is considered to be an evidence of the fact of death, it may be presented in court. A copy of the Fetal Death Certificate may be issued to the mother of the child.

In New York City, every case of a fetal death must be reported. United States fetal death data represent fetal deaths registered in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and New York City. Most states are required to report a fetal death of 20 weeks or more, or 350 grams of delivery weight.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) will receive the data as an electronic file, which is prepared from individual records processed by each registration area, through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program.

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