FRIDAY, Sept. 18, 2020 (HealthDay News) — There is considerable racial/ethnic variation in fetal death rates, according to research published in the Sept. 18 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Shannon M. Pruitt, M.P.H., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues used data from the 2015 to 2017 fetal death data files and birth certificates available from the National Vital Statistics System to examine racial and ethnic disparities in fetal deaths.

The researchers found that the U.S. fetal mortality rate was 6.0 per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths during 2015 to 2017. The fetal mortality rate was higher for Black versus White and Hispanic women (11.2 versus 5.0 and 5.1, respectively). Mothers aged younger than 20 years and those aged older than 40 years had a higher fetal mortality rate than those aged 20 to 39 years (7.4 and 10.0, respectively, versus 5.7; rate ratios, 1.3 and 1.8, respectively). Compared with White mothers, Black mothers had increased rates of having a fetal death attributable to maternal conditions unrelated to the present pregnancy or to maternal complications of pregnancy; syndrome of infant of a diabetic mother and neonatal diabetes mellitus; fetal death of unspecified cause; and fetus affected by complications of placenta, cord, and membranes.

“The U.S. fetal mortality rate has been relatively stable since 2006, but racial/ethnic disparities persist and are demonstrated in four of the five most common [causes] of fetal death categories,” the authors write.

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