No Significant Increase Seen in Fetal Mortality Rates From 2019 to 2020

Rates for three largest race and Hispanic-origin groups did not significantly change; increase in rates reported in one state, decline reported in two states

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THURSDAY, Jan. 20, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- From 2019 to 2020, there was no significant change in fetal mortality rates, according to a January Vital Statistics Rapid Release report, a publication from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Elizabeth C.W. Gregory, M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, and colleagues describe changes in fetal mortality from 2019 to 2020 by maternal race and Hispanic origin and by state and compared changes to those from 2018 to 2019.

The researchers noted a 5 percent decline in the fetal mortality rate from 2014 to 2019 and a nonsignificant increase of less than 1 percent from 2019 to 2020. Trends and patterns were similar for early and late fetal mortality rates. For the three largest race and Hispanic-origin groups, fetal mortality rates did not change significantly from 2019 to 2020. During this period, there was an increase in fetal mortality rates in one state, a decrease in two states, and no significant change for 47 states and the District of Columbia. In comparison, fetal mortality rates declined by 4 and 5 percent for non-Hispanic White and Hispanic women, respectively, from 2018 to 2019, but rates were not significantly different for non-Hispanic Blacks.

"Anecdotal reports have suggested that there were increases in fetal deaths in 2020 potentially associated with COVID-19," the authors write. "Although COVID-19 status is not collected on reports of fetal death nationally and, therefore, cannot be examined, this report did not find a significant increase in fetal deaths from 2019 to 2020."

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