Gestational age‐ and birthweight‐specific declines in infant mortality in Canada, 1985–94 Journal Articles uri icon

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  • We studied infant mortality rates in Canada within specific gestational age and birthweight categories after using probabilistic techniques to link information in Statistics Canada’s live births data base (1985–94) with that in the death data base (1985–95). Gestational age‐ and birthweight‐specific mortality rates in 1992–94 were contrasted with those in 1985–87 with changes expressed in terms of relative risks with 95% confidence intervals [CI]. Statistically significant reductions in infant mortality were observed beginning at 24–25 weeks of gestation and extended across the gestational age range to post‐term births. Crude infant mortality rates, infant mortality rates among those  500 g and among those  1000 g decreased by 22%, 25% and 26%, respectively, from 1985–87 to 1992–94. The magnitude of the reductions in infant mortality rates ranged from 14%[95% CI 7, 21%] at 24–25 weeks of gestation to 40%[95% CI 31, 47%] at 28–31 weeks. Almost all reductions in gestational age‐ and birthweight‐specific infant mortality between 1985–87 and 1992–94 were due to approximately equal reductions in neonatal and post‐neonatal mortality. Live births  42 weeks of gestation did not follow this rule; post‐neonatal mortality rates among such live births decreased significantly by 51%[95% CI 26, 68%], although neonatal mortality rates showed no significant change. The mortality reductions observed across the gestational age and birthweight range are probably a consequence of specific clinical interventions complementing improvements in fetal growth. Temporal changes in the outcome of post‐term pregnancies need to be carefully examined, especially in relation to recent changes in the obstetric management of such pregnancies.


  • Joseph, KS
  • Kramer, MS
  • Allen, AC
  • Cyr, Michael Mark
  • Fair, M
  • Ohlsson, A
  • Wu Wen, S
  • For The Fetal and Infant Health Study Group of the Canadian

publication date

  • October 2000