Fetal and Infant Deaths 2005

Published online: 
02 September 2009


Annual statistical publication that collates and analyses information on the causes of fetal and infant deaths registered in New Zealand.

Key facts from the publication:
Fetal and Infant Deaths 2005: Key Facts

  • There were 697 fetal and infant deaths in 2005.
  • In 2005, 294 infant deaths were registered (5.0 deaths per 1000 live births). There were 403 fetal deaths in 2005 (6.8 deaths per 1000 total births).
  • Post-neonatal death rates have decreased slightly over the past decade while neonatal (from birth to 27 days after birth) death rates have remained steady.
  • In 2005, 36 percent of early neonatal deaths were where the baby died within 24 hours of life.


  • Māori infant deaths (114 deaths) accounted for 38.8 percent of all infant deaths.
  • Overall, the Māori infant death rate has been decreasing since 1996; the most significant decrease has been for the Māori post-neonatal death rate.
  • The Māori infant death rate was 71.8 percent higher than the non-Māori, non-Pacific peoples ethnic group in 2005.
  • The Pacific peoples infant death rate was 76.9 percent higher than the non-Maori, non-Pacific peoples ethnic group in 2005.

Risk factors

  • Babies born in multiple births accounted for 19.6 percent of early neonatal deaths in 2005.
  • The most deprived areas in New Zealand (NZDep2001 Quintile 5) have increasing rates of fetal deaths compared with other quintiles.
  • The most deprived areas in New Zealand have rates of infant deaths over two times the least deprived areas (NZDep2001 Quintile 1).
  • Babies with a birthweight of less than 1000 g and a gestation of less than 32 completed weeks made up 48.1 percent of all neonatal deaths and 7.2 percent of post-neonatal deaths.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

  • Forty infant deaths were attributed to the Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in 2005.
  • The SIDS rate of 0.7 deaths per 1000 live births in 2005 was the lowest recorded since SIDS became a separate category in the International Classification of Diseases in 1979.
  • SIDS was the underlying cause of death for 13.6 percent of all infant deaths and 32.4 percent of post-neonatal deaths.

Publishing information

  • Date of publication:
    02 September 2009
  • Hardcopy date of publication:
    02 September 2009
  • ISBN:
    978-0-478-31296-6 (print), 978-0-478-31299-7 (online)
  • HP number:
  • Citation:
    Ministry of Health. (2009). (Fetal and Infant Deaths 2005). Wellington: Ministry of Health.
  • Ordering information:
    Only soft copy available to download
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