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 2020, the stillbirth rate was 7.7 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: Definition 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. 20 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

Chart: aihw.gov.au

The data visualisation below presents data on stillbirths and neonatal mortality rates for state and territory of birth, Indigenous babies and babies born to Indigenous mothers, for 2020. Click the trend button to see how data has changed over an 11-year period (where available).

The figure shows a bar graph comparing perinatal mortality rates by Indigenous status of baby, Indigenous status of mother, state and territory of birth and state and territory of mother’s usual residence for 2020. The figure also shows a line graph of stillbirth, neonatal death and perinatal death trends by a range of topics over the period from 2010 to 2020. In 2020, the perinatal mortality rate was 9.9 per 1,000 births.

Visualisation not available for printing

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