WEDNESDAY, April 15, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Five causes of death accounted for 89.5 percent of fetal deaths reported during 2015 to 2017, according to a report published April 15 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Vital Statistics Report.

Donna L. Hoyert, Ph.D., and Elizabeth C.W. Gregory, M.P.H., from the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland, present data on fetal cause of death occurring at 20 weeks of gestation or more using data for 2015 to 2017 in a reporting area of 34 states and the District of Columbia.

The researchers found that 89.5 percent of fetal deaths in the reported area were due to five selected causes of death: 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; and fetus affected by maternal conditions that may be unrelated to the current pregnancy (28.7, 26.5, 13.9, 10.8, and 9.6 percent, respectively).

“With so many deaths concentrated in a few broad causes, including unspecified, these same five causes are among the selected causes for most of the characteristics studied (e.g., maternal age, sex of fetus, and plurality),” the authors write. “Some differences in order and percentage of deaths were seen across the different causes.”

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