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Death before BirthFetal Health and Mortality in Historical Perspective$
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Robert Woods

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199542758

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199542758.001.0001

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Definitions, Measurement, Influences

Definitions, Measurement, Influences

Chapter:
(p.14) 2 Definitions, Measurement, Influences
Source:
Death before Birth
Author(s):

Robert Woods (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199542758.003.0002

The definition of live birth is problematic. Clinical, statistical, and cultural conventions compete and are, in any case, fluid. This chapter considers how fetal death has been defined; the terms used by specialists and in common speech (reckoning, quickening, miscarriage, abortion, stillbirth, deadborn); the distinction between miscarriage and induced abortion; and how such deaths have been recorded, and by whom (hospital records, certification, state registration; midwives, clerics, physicians). It discusses the various devices employed to measure fetal and early-age mortality, such as the stillbirth and perinatal mortality rates, neonatal and endogenous mortality. Finally, it reviews a number of alternative explanatory approaches to fetal mortality. Those emphasizing the biological and physiological are contrasted with more socially and culturally nuanced accounts.

Keywords:   perinatal, neonatal, certification, deadborn, maternal age, parity

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