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Health Indicator Report of Fetal Mortality Rate

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.

Fetal Mortality Rate by County of Residence, New Jersey, 2010-2014


**Too few fetal deaths to calculate a reliable rate. U.S. data is for 2012 and confidence limits are not available.

Data Sources

  • Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health
  • Fetal Death Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registration, New Jersey Department of Health

Data Interpretation Issues

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. 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.


The 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.


Number of resident fetal deaths of 20 or more weeks gestation in a given year


Number of live births plus fetal deaths of 20 or more weeks gestation to resident mothers in the same year

Healthy People Objective: Fetal deaths at 20 or more weeks of gestation

U.S. Target: 5.6 fetal deaths per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths

How Are We Doing?

The fetal mortality rate has been declining for decades and now stands at 6 per 1,000 live births plus fetal deaths. The rate varies widely across the state and by several maternal and infant characteristics. The rate among Blacks is more than twice the rate among other racial/ethnic groups. The rate is highest among older mothers and, regardless of age, unmarried mothers have higher rates than married mothers. Infants whose mothers receive no prenatal care are ten times as likely to be stillborn than those whose mothers receive prenatal care. Lower delivery weight and preterm infants are much more likely to be stillborn, however when the effect of delivery weight is controlled for, singletons are more likely to be stillborn than multiples. The leading causes of fetal death are maternal complications of pregnancy and complications of the placenta, cord, and membranes. These two causes account for 46% of all fetal deaths.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

The fetal mortality rate for New Jersey is the same as that of the U.S. 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 fetal mortality. Information on programs that promote availability and use of prenatal care services may be found at: [] or [] 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 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.

Available Services

The Division of Family Health Services (FHS) provides support for pregnant women and newborns through several programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Program for [ Women, Infants and Children (WIC)]. FHS supports the public education and identification of [ postpartum depression]. FHS supports professional and public [ Perinatal Addiction] education services, promotes perinatal screening, and has developed a network of available resources to aid pregnant, substance-using women.
Page Content Updated On 05/04/2017, Published on 05/08/2017
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 Sat, 21 July 2018 0:05:52 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

Content updated: Wed, 23 May 2018 05:01:08 EDT