Preliminary perinatal deaths

The data presented in this section are from the National Perinatal Data Collection, and are preliminary data only. Neonatal deaths may not be included for babies transferred to another hospital, re-admitted to hospital after discharge or who died at home after discharge. The AIHW has established a separate National Perinatal Mortality Data Collection to obtain complete information on these deaths. The latest report from this collection is titled Stillbirths and neonatal deaths and is available as a web article within this web report.

A stillbirth is the death of a baby before birth, at a gestational age of 20 weeks or more, or of a birthweight of 400 grams or more. A neonatal death is the death of a liveborn baby within 28 days of birth. Perinatal deaths include both stillbirth and neonatal deaths.

Stillbirths and neonatal deaths may include late termination of pregnancy (20 weeks or more gestation). Stillbirths and perinatal death rates are calculated using all live births and stillbirths in the denominator. Neonatal mortality rates are calculated using live births only.

In 2021, the stillbirth rate was 7.2 per 1,000 births and the neonatal mortality rate was 2.3 per 1,000 live births. Over time, stillbirth and neonatal mortality rates have remained between 7 and 8 in 1,000 births and between 2 and 3 in 1,000 live births, respectively.

Figure 1: Definitions of perinatal deaths

The figure shows a timeline from 20 weeks of gestation to 28 days of birth and defines perinatal deaths, stillbirths and neonatal deaths based upon when they occur within this time period. The period from 20 weeks of gestation to 28 days after birth is classified as a perinatal death. Twenty weeks of gestation until labour and/or birth is classified as a stillbirth. From the first 24 hours to the 28 days after birth is defined as a neonatal death.

Note: at least 20 weeks gestation and/or 400 grams of birthweight


Figure 2 presents data on stillbirths and neonatal mortality rates for state and territory of birth, First Nations babies and babies born to First Nations mothers, for 2021. Select the trend button to see how data has changed over an 11-year period (where available).

Figure 2: Perinatal mortality rates, by selected topic

Bar chart shows perinatal mortality rates by selected topics and a line graph shows topic trends between 2010 and 2021. 

For more preliminary information on perinatal deaths see National Perinatal Data Collection annual update data table 4.1.