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Data Collection Overview

South Australian Maternal, Perinatal and Infant Mortality Committee (SA PMC)

Data Collection Sources

Data sources are death notices, media reports, Perinatal Death Certificates and Death Certificates of children less than one year of age from the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration Division, congenital abnormality notifications from doctors, chromosome analysis reports from the Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics Unit at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, autopsy reports from pathology departments, Coroner’s autopsy reports and findings, confidential medical reports from doctors, OACIS (Open Architecture Clinical Information Systems) hospital reports and some hospital case records.

Institutional environments

All perinatal and infant deaths in the state are reviewed by the Maternal, Perinatal and Infant Mortality Committee. Three subcommittees, the Maternal, Perinatal and Postneonatal Subcommittees review each death and collate this information. The cases are discussed with no identifying information but the members are aware of the type of health services available in each case. The Committee was established in 1985 and operates under Part 7 of the SA Health Care Act 2008.

Relevance and Scope

All live births in SA and stillbirths of at least 20 weeks gestation, or 400g birthweight. The committee reviews all maternal, perinatal and postneonatal deaths. Maternal deaths reviewed include deaths of women while pregnant or within 12 months of termination of pregnancy (although only deaths within 42 days are included in the annual reports), irrespective of the duration and the site of the pregnancy. Perinatal deaths are defined as stillbirths and neonatal deaths of live births within 28 days of birth. Postneonatal deaths include deaths of liveborn infants occurring between 28 days and the first birthday. Advice is provided to the Chief Executive of SA Health about the pattern and causation of maternal, perinatal and infant deaths in the state; the avoidability of any factors associated with such deaths and any measures which could be undertaken to assist with the prevention of such deaths, including improvements in health services in the state. Recommendations are also made concerning education and training for members of the medical, midwifery and nursing professions and for the community generally to assist in the reduction of maternal, perinatal and infant mortality and morbidity in the state. Areas that need further study or action are also identified. Deaths of South Australian- born babies occurring in other states are also included in the statistics where information is available for them.


The reports are usually produced annually within a year of the end of data collection. The most recent report, Maternal, Perinatal and infant Mortality in South Australia 2013, was published in September 2015 using data from 2013.


Guidelines and definitions are provided to all South Australian obstetric units to promote uniform completion of the forms.


The Pregnancy Outcome (Statistics) Unit, Epidemiology Branch, SA Health publishes the following reports, which are available in hard copy and online:
Pregnancy outcome in South Australia; and
Maternal, Perinatal and Infant Mortality in South Australia
, including the South Australian Protocol for Investigation of stillbirths.
Data may be requested from the data custodian.


SA uses the PSANZ PDC and PSANZ NDC classification system, and can use the Whitfield Classification for requests using historical data. Definitions used by the Subcommittees are provided in Appendix 3 of the Maternal, Perinatal and Infant Mortality in South Australia report. Death certificates, birthweight-gestation percentile charts and tables and placental histology guidelines are also included.

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