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Comparable data on maternal and infant in Europe available for the first time
Date:12/11/2008

Promoting healthy pregnancy and safe childbirth is a goal of all European health care systems. Despite progress in recent decades, mothers and their babies are still very much at risk during the perinatal period, which covers pregnancy, delivery, and the postpartum.

The European Perinatal Health Report released by the EURO-PERISTAT project is the most comprehensive report on the subject to date and takes a new approach to health reporting. Instead of comparing countries on single indicators like infant mortality (the 'report card' or 'league table' approach), the report paints a fuller picture by presenting data about mortality, low birthweight and preterm birth alongside data about health care and other factors that can affect the outcome of pregnancy. It also illustrates differences in the ways that data are collected, and explains how these can affect comparisons between countries.

The 280-page report was a major feat of collaboration between researchers and official statisticians in Europe. It contains data on EURO-PERISTAT indicators for the year 2004 from 25 participating EU member states and Norway. It also contains data from three other European projects: Surveillance of Cerebral Palsy in Europe (SCPE), European Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies (EUROCAT), and the European Information System to Monitor Short and Long-Term Morbidity to Improve Quality of Care and Patient Safety for Very-Low-Birth-Weight Infants (EURONEOSTAT).

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS

Outcomes differ widely between the countries of Europe. No country tops every list. Understanding the reasons behind these differences can provide the insights needed for prevention and improvement.

  • Fetal mortality/ stillbirth rates: The cutoff for these varies between countries. When a definition excluding all births before 28 completed weeks of gestation is used, the fetal mortality rate in 2004 ranged from around 2.0 per 1000 births in the Slovak Republic and
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Contact: Sverine Ciancia
severine.ciancia@inserm.fr
014-423-6086
INSERM (Institut national de la sant et de la recherche mdicale)
Source:Eurekalert

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