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Fetal mortality is higher than neonatal mortality in 42% of municipalities in São Paulo State

A study conducted by American student Kathryn Andrews as part of her public health doctorate at Harvard University, USA, analyzed fetal (from 22 weeks of gestation, or more than 500 grams) and neonatal mortality rates in the state of São Paulo between 2010 and 2014. Calculated using data from the Ministry of Health, the results indicate that fetal mortality is higher than neonatal mortality in 42% of the 645 municipalities in São Paulo State (Plos One, December 22). For the state as a whole, the fetal mortality rate was 7.9 per thousand pregnancies, but this number varied greatly between municipalities, ranging from 0 to 28 stillbirths per thousand pregnancies. The neonatal mortality rate (from birth to 28 days postpartum) at the state level was also 7.9 per thousand live births. According to the authors of the article, these figures reinforce the possibility that the fetal mortality rate in Brazil could surpass the neonatal mortality rate in the coming decades. This trend is expected, researchers say, since current public policies focus more on lowering infant mortality and less on improving prenatal care and reducing risk behaviors during pregnancy. The study was conducted in collaboration with a group led by Alexandra Brentani, from the School of Medicine at the University of São Paulo (FM-USP).