Five major causes of fetal deaths
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Fetal deaths, which are involuntary losses of fetuses during pregnancy, outnumber infant deaths. The risk of fetal loss differs by both maternal and fetal characteristics and the cause of fetal death can provide additional insight into why fetuses die. This article presents data on fetal cause of death by maternal age, maternal race and Hispanic origin, fetal sex, a period of gestation, birth weight, and plurality.

Five selected causes account for 89.5% of fetal deaths in the reporting area:

-Fetal death of unspecified cause
-Fetus affected by complications of placenta, cord and membranes
-Fetus affected by maternal complications of pregnancy
-Congenital malformations, deformations, and chromosomal abnormalities
-Fetus affected by maternal conditions that may be unrelated to present pregnancy

In conclusion, Cause-of-fetal-death data reported on vital records enable new comparisons of maternal and fetal characteristics and provide information for a larger proportion of the country than other studies. While limited variation was seen among the selected causes across the maternal and fetal characteristics examined, many of the observed variations are consistent with associations that have been documented in the research literature.

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