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Trends in Fetal and Perinatal Mortality in Korea (2009-2014): Comparison with Japan and the United States

Journal title
Journal of Korean medical science
Publication year
Song, Y. H.; Lee, G. M.; Yoon, J. M.; Cheon, E. J.; Lee, S. K.; Chung, S. H.; Lim, J. W.

Fetal death is an important indicator of national health care. In Korea, the fetal mortality rate is likely to increase due to advanced maternal age and multiple births, but there is limited research in this field. The authors investigated the characteristics of fetal deaths, the annual changes in the fetal mortality rate and the perinatal mortality rate in Korea, and compared them with those in Japan and the United States. Fetal deaths were restricted to those that occurred at 20 weeks of gestation or more. From 2009 to 2014, the overall mean fetal mortality rate was 8.5 per 1,000 live births and fetal deaths in Korea, 7.1 in Japan and 6.0 in the United States. While the birth rate in Korea declined by 2.1% between 2009 and 2014, the decrease in the number of fetal deaths was 34.5%. The fetal mortality rate in Korea declined by 32.9%, from 11.0 in 2009 to 7.4 in 2014, the largest decline among the 3 countries. In addition, rates for receiving prenatal care increased from 53.9% in 2009 to 75.0% in 2014. Perinatal mortality rate I and II were the lowest in Japan, followed by Korea and the United States, and Korea showed the greatest decrease in rate of perinatal mortality rate II. In this study, we identified that the indices of fetal deaths in Korea are improving rapidly. In order to maintain this trend, improvement of perinatal care level and stronger national medical support policies should be maintained continuously.

Research abstracts