Miscarriage Certificate definition

Last updated January 11th, 2024

A "Miscarriage Certificate" or "Nonviable Birth Certificate" is a document that some states provide when a pregnancy ends in a miscarriage.

A miscarriage, also called a "spontaneous abortion," is when a baby dies in the womb before it is able to survive on its own outside the womb. This typically happens before 20 weeks of pregnancy.

A woman or a pregnant person can lose their baby at any point during their pregnancy.

There are two stages of pregnancy loss:

  • Early miscarriage, which happens in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy
  • Late miscarriage, which occurs after 12 weeks and before 24 weeks

However, please note that not all miscarriages qualify for a “Miscarriage Certificate”. All fetal deaths after 16 weeks must be officially registered.

The law requires parents to register stillbirths too. Nevertheless, the process is different, and it’s necessary to apply for both a birth and a death certificate.

What information is included in the “Nonviable Birth Certificate”?

The miscarriage certificate, also known as a "Nonviable Birth Certificate", provides information about the fetus or baby.

For instance, it might have information about the sex, the length of the pregnancy, and if there were any health issues with the fetus.

Furthermore, it will detail the date of the miscarriage and might offer causes that may have contributed to the loss of the baby.

It’s important to note, however, that most miscarriages occur because the fetus is not developing properly.

Why do I need a miscarriage certificate?

Using this kind of document can be helpful for many reasons:

  • You can use it to obtain a death certificate for your baby from vital records at your state department of health or department of vital records.
  • It can help you with things like finalizing your insurance paperwork and getting compensation for your loss from your health insurance company.
  • It helps many parents to acknowledge and grieve their loss.

Miscarriage terms and laws

Besides understanding what a miscarriage certificate is, there are other terms you might want to familiarize yourself with.

In addition, each state handles the access to a miscarriage certificate differently. On the table below, we provide updated information about the latest laws in each state.

State Law Explanation
Florida House Bill 101 Governor Rick Scott signed the "Grieving Families Act" law in 2017.

The state can issue the certificate for miscarriages between 9 and 20 weeks of gestation.

Louisiana House Bill 457 Louisiana might introduce miscarriage certificates, similar to birth certificates to recognize the emotional impact of miscarriage and provide a tangible record of their unborn child.
Idaho Idaho Stat.§39-9305 A miscarriage certificate may be filed at the request of a parent if the miscarriage has been certified by a physician.
Nebraska LB1040 State senator Joni Albrecht introduced LB1040 to create a state-issued birth certificate for miscarriages.

Governor Ricketts signer lB1040 into law to offer support to grieving families.

If you need the most current information about birth certificates for a specific state, be sure to check to our site.