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Author Notes:

Corresponding author: Lauren Christiansen-Lindquist, lchris4@emory.edu

This content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

Comments and views of the author(s) do not necessarily represent the views of the NICHD.


Research Funding:

This research was supported by grant funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD): U10-HD045925 Emory University; U10-HD045944 University of Utah Health Sciences Center; and U01-HD045954 RTI International, RTP; and NIH training grant T32HD052460 Emory University.

This project was also supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Doctoral Training Program (Grant #T03MC07651).


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
  • Stillbirth
  • Fetal death
  • Vital statistics
  • Data accuracy

Fetal death certificate data quality: a tale of two US counties


Journal Title:

Annals of Epidemiology


Volume 27, Number 8


, Pages 466-471

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Purpose: Describe the relative frequency and joint effect of missing and misreported fetal death certificate (FDC) data and identify variations by key characteristics. Methods: Stillbirths were prospectively identified during 2006-2008 for a multisite population-based case-control study. For this study, eligible mothers of stillbirths were not incarcerated residents of DeKalb County, Georgia, or Salt Lake County, Utah, aged ≥13 years, with an identifiable FDC. We identified the frequency of missing and misreported (any departure from the study value) FDC data by county, race/ethnicity, gestational age, and whether the stillbirth was antepartum or intrapartum. Results: Data quality varied by item and was highest in Salt Lake County. Reporting was generally not associated with maternal or delivery characteristics. Reasons for poor data quality varied by item in DeKalb County: some items were frequently missing and misreported; however, others were of poor quality due to either missing or misreported data. Conclusions: FDC data suffer from missing and inaccurate data, with variations by item and county. Salt Lake County data illustrate that high quality reporting is attainable. The overall quality of reporting must be improved to support consequential epidemiologic analyses for stillbirth, and improvement efforts should be tailored to the needs of each jurisdiction.

Copyright information:

© 2017 Elsevier Inc.

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