Fetal deaths occur when a fetus has reached 20 or more weeks of gestation but dies before birth due to natural causes. Infant deaths are deaths to infants live born and less than one year old. Fetal and infant death data come from fetal death and death certificates registered in Washington State.
Why is fetal and infant death data important?
Fetal and infant death data provide key information about maternal and infant health. They are important factors in understanding a population’s overall health. Data on fetal and infant deaths help us track and understand health trends. The data highlight inequities that exist by geography, social and environmental exposures, and demographics, especially race and ethnicity. The data on fetal and infant deaths help us discover and evaluate preventive strategies to improve maternal and infant health.
It is important to understand the factors that contribute to fetal and infant deaths. Factors that can influence fetal and infant mortality rates include:
- Access to medicine
- Access to culturally appropriate health care
- Enough food
- Clean water
- Safe housing
- Discrimination from health care providers by race and ethnicity
- Safe sleep
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Breastfeeding initiation and duration
Understanding these factors can help us improve maternal and infant behaviors, health care, and access to services.
The dashboards present fetal and infant death counts and rates per 1,000 live births that occurred to Washington State residents. They show trends from 1990 to 2020 by Washington counties and Accountable Communities of Health (ACH). The data represent all fetal and infant deaths to Washington State residents regardless of where they occurred.
View the Data
For information or questions related to the Washington Tracking Network, email DOH.WTN@doh.wa.gov.
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