Preliminary data on perinatal deaths is available through the National Perinatal Data Collection and reported in the Australia’s mothers and babies publication series.
The AIHW has established a separate, enduring National Perinatal Mortality Data Collection to obtain complete information on these deaths which contains annual perinatal deaths data from 2013. For 2017 and 2018, NSW perinatal mortality data were not available at the time of production for this report. Where possible in this report, preliminary perinatal deaths data for NSW for 2017 and 2018 supplied to the National Perinatal Data Collection have been used.
Data on stillbirths and neonatal deaths are provided to the NPDC by jurisdictions as a subset of the larger cohort of all babies born in the same collection period. These preliminary data on stillbirths and neonatal deaths are made available to the public approximately 18 months after the end of the collection period.
Because these data are supplied to the AIHW often prior to completion of all Jurisdictional Mortality Review Committee reports, the data is not as comprehensive as that supplied to the NPMDC, particularly pertaining to PSANZ classification regarding the cause of death and contributory factors.
These preliminary data may also not include neonatal deaths for babies transferred to another hospital, re-admitted to hospital after discharge or who died at home after discharge.
Data provided to the NPMDC may vary from the preliminary data reported by the NPDC due to a variety of factors. Such factors include the inclusion of babies transferred to another hospital, re-admitted to hospital after discharge or who died at home after discharge; or cases where not enough detail was able to be provided by the jurisdiction to enable linkage of a particular death in the NPMDC back to the corresponding record in the NPDC
Quality of data for reporting Indigenous status
Indigenous status is a measure of whether a person identifies as being of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin. Unless otherwise stated, data for babies are based on the Indigenous status of the mother. However, the outcomes of babies of Indigenous women remain a key data resource for assessing provision of antenatal care in pregnancy and other interventions before or during pregnancy.
Comparing NPMDC data with Victorian Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity data
The stillbirth data for Victoria reported to the National Perinatal Mortality Data Collection differs to that reported by the Victorian Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric Mortality and Morbidity (CCOPMM). For 2018, the CCOPMM annual report shows 473 stillbirths and an adjusted stillbirth rate of 6.0 per 1,000 births (CCOPMM 2019. Victoria’s mothers, babies and children 2018. Melbourne: Victorian Government). The difference is due to the following exclusions applied to the stillbirths reported by CCOPMM:
- Stillbirths proven to have occurred at less than 20 weeks’ gestation (for example, where a fetal death in utero diagnosed by ultrasound at 19 weeks’ gestation), but where birth occurs at 20 weeks’ gestation or more
- Stillbirths where a fetal death in utero is diagnosed at 20 weeks’ gestation or more, but where the birthweight is less than 150 grams.
Comparing NPMDC data with ABS registrations of death data
Perinatal death data reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) are not directly comparable with the NPMDC and NPDC data contained in this report. Variation in the number of perinatal deaths reported by the ABS and NPMDC can be seen in Table 2.
While the definitions of stillbirth (fetal death in ABS reporting) and neonatal death are the same, ABS data are sourced from state and territory registrars of Births, Deaths and Marriages. Data from the NPMDC and NPDC contained in this report are sourced from midwives, and other staff, who collect information from mothers and perinatal administrative and clinical record systems.
It is the responsibility of the parents to register a birth with Births, Deaths and Marriages, however some perinatal deaths may not be recorded when notifications are not registered by the parents. A delay in registrations is often seen, particularly for stillbirths, with the original date of death often being many years prior to the date of registration. This means the accuracy of the number of perinatal deaths reported by the ABS for a particular year often improves over time.
Table 2: Number of perinatal deaths reported by Australian Bureau of Statistics and the National Perinatal Mortality Data Collection, Australia, 2013–2018
||NPMDC Neonatal deaths
||ABS Neonatal deaths
Note: ABS stillbirths and neonatal deaths are reported by the year in which the death occurred (ABS 2018, Customised report).
For more information on perinatal deaths data collected by the ABS, visit the perinatal deaths page at the Australian Bureau of Statistics.