Standard Terminology for Reporting
of Reproductive Health Statistics
in the United States*
^94 ^215
The adoption of standard definitions and reporting requirements for repro-
ductive health statistics will provide an improved basis for standardization
and uniformity in the design, implementation, and evaluation of intervention
strategies. The reduction of maternal and infant mortality and the improve-
ment of the health of our nation’s women and infants are the ultimate goals.
The collection 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
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 com-
parisons and conclusions. For example, specific requirements for reporting
of fetal deaths often have been misinterpreted as implying a weight or ges-
tational age for viability. Distinctions can and should be made among the
definition of an event, the reporting requirements for the event, and the sta-
tistical tabulation and interpretation of the data. The definition indicates the
meaning of a term (eg, live birth, fetal death, or maternal death). A reporting
Appendix F
*Different states use different birth weight and gestational age criteria to define fetal
death. The Committee on Obstetric Practice of the American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists recommends that perinatal mortality statistics be based on a gestational
weight of 500 g.
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