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Appendix F
Standard Terminology for Reporting of
Reproductive Health Statistics in the
United States*
The adoption of standard definitions and reporting requirements for reproduc-
tive health statistics will provide an improved basis for standardization and
uniformity in the design, implementation, and evaluation of intervention strat-
egies. The reduction of maternal and infant mortality and the improvement of
the health of our nation’s women and infants are the ultimate goals. The col-
lection and analysis of reliable statistical data are an essential part of in-depth
investigations and incorporate case finding, individual review, and analysis of
risk factors. These studies could then yield valuable clinical information for
practitioners, aiding them in improved case management for patients at high
risk, which would result in decreased morbidity and mortality.
Both the collection and the use of statistics have been hampered by lack of
understanding of differences in definitions, statistical tabulations, and reporting
requirements among state, national, and international bodies. Misapplication
and misinterpretation of data may lead to erroneous comparisons and conclu-
sions. For example, specific requirements for reporting of fetal deaths often
have been misinterpreted as implying a weight or gestational age for viability.
Distinctions can and should be made among the definition of an event, the
reporting requirements for the event, and the statistical tabulation and inter-
pretation of the data. The definition indicates the meaning of a term (eg, live
birth, fetal death, or maternal death). A reporting requirement is that part
of the defined event for which reporting is mandatory or desired. Statistical
tabulations connote the presentation of data for the purpose of analysis and
*Different states use different birth weight and gestational age criteria to define fetal death. The
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recommends that perinatal mortality statistics be based on a gestational weight of 500 g.
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