The perinatal mortality rate is an important impact indicator that measures the outcome of pregnancy in terms of the infant. The idea of combining data on stillbirths and early neonatal deaths stems from times when perinatal mortality was high everywhere, and was based on observations that deaths in the early

34 neonatal period have more in common with stillbirths than with childhood deaths (3). Another advantage of combining them is that it avoids misclassification of early deaths of liveborn infants as stillbirths, which would result in underreporting of early deaths.

Perinatal mortality is associated with poor maternal health. It provides useful insight into the quality of intrapartum and immediate postnatal care and may be used as a good proxy measure of the quality of those services. It has been suggested as an alternative and more sensitive measure of maternal health status, since the ascertainment of perinatal death is less difficult than that of maternal morbidity.

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