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Fetal Death, Measures of

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

The World Health Organization defines a fetal death as the death of a production of conception prior to complete expulsion or extraction from its mother, regardless of length of pregnancy. Factors that indicate a fetal death after separation from the mother include no breathing or evidence of life by the fetus, pulsation of umbilical cord, or voluntary muscle movement. The distinction between fetal and infant deaths is based on the place of death; a fetal death occurs in utero.

Fetal death can be measured in terms of time of death: death prior to labor, antepartum mortality, and death during labor. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, measures are operationalized in terms of gestational age: A death at or after 20 weeks is considered a ...

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