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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Several types of death - in terms of the timing and thus their implications - are recognised in obstetrics. Perinatal death is defined as the sum of stillbirths and neonatal deaths within the first week of life (early neonatal mortality).

The definitions are shaped more often by legal aspects than actual medical practice. A prime anomaly is that of the babies which should be rigidly classified as stillbirths due to a lack of immediate signs of life. These are now surviving due to better perinatal care.

In England and Wales the perinatal death rate in 2003 was 8.6 deaths per 1000 total births - ie live and stillbirths (1).

  • stillbirth rate 5.77 per 1000 live births and stillbirths


  1. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (April 2005). Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (England and Wales)

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