Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 1634–1650 | Cite as

Fetal Deaths in Brazil: Historical Series Descriptive Analysis 1996–2012

  • Maria Salete Medeiros Vieira
  • Filipe Medeiros Vieira
  • Tânia Silvia Fröde
  • Eleonora d’Orsi


Objective We seek to comprehensively assess stillbirths in Brazil, to compare the Brazilian findings with global trends and to identify the limitations of the fetal death record system. Method We studied fetal deaths in Brazil between 1996 and 2012 within the following five regions of the country: the North, Northeast, Southeast, South, and Central-West, through an analysis of data obtained from the Unified Health System’s (SUS) Informatics Department. The rates of stillbirth in Brazil and in these regions were calculated in relation to the maternal and gestational age and education, birth weight, type of pregnancy, delivery type, weight ranges and cause of death. Results There were 579,661 recorded fetal deaths and a decrease of 22.9 % in the stillbirth rate. In 2012, the overall rate was 10.0/1000 births; the North and Northeast regions had the highest rates (10.3 and 12.1, respectively) and the South region had the lowest rate (7.7/1000 births). Two-thirds of the deaths occurred in pregnancies of 28 or more weeks. Low education was an important risk factor, with rates of 24.3/1000 birth in women with no formal education and 4.7/1000 birth in women with 12 or more years of study in 2012. More than 40 % of the causes of deaths were nonspecific. Conclusions Despite the gradual decline in stillbirth rates, Brazil still has stillbirth rates that are nearly two times higher than those found in developed countries. There are inequalities between country regions portrayed by the significant variation in mortality rates specified by cause.


Fetal death Stillbirth Epidemiological surveillance Control methods 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Gynecology and ObstetricsFederal University of Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  2. 2.FlorianópolisBrazil
  3. 3.Federal University of Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Clinical Analysis, Center of Health ScienceFederal University of Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil
  5. 5.Public Health Department, Center of Health ScienceFederal University of Santa CatarinaFlorianópolisBrazil

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