birth certificates


Summary: Official certifications by a physician recording the individual's birth date, place of birth, parentage and other required identifying data which are filed with the local registrar of vital statistics.

Top Publications

  1. Kirby R. Birth certificates are an inappropriate source for identifying cases of birth defects in epidemiologic studies. Int J Circumpolar Health. 2007;66:4; author reply 5-6 pubmed
  2. Gould J, Madan A, Qin C, Chavez G. Perinatal outcomes in two dissimilar immigrant populations in the United States: a dual epidemiologic paradox. Pediatrics. 2003;111:e676-82 pubmed
    ..These findings highlight the need for additional research into both epidemiologic and biological risk factors that determine perinatal outcomes. ..
  3. Lydon Rochelle M, Holt V, Cardenas V, Nelson J, Easterling T, Gardella C, et al. The reporting of pre-existing maternal medical conditions and complications of pregnancy on birth certificates and in hospital discharge data. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2005;193:125-34 pubmed
    The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of live-birth certificates and hospital discharge data that reported of pre-existing maternal medical conditions and complications of pregnancy...
  4. Ford J, Roberts C, Taylor L. Characteristics of unmatched maternal and baby records in linked birth records and hospital discharge data. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2006;20:329-37 pubmed
    ..Our results suggest studies using linked data should generally examine and report on the characteristics of unmatched records, and recognise them as a potential source of bias. ..
  5. Zollinger T, Przybylski M, Gamache R. Reliability of Indiana birth certificate data compared to medical records. Ann Epidemiol. 2006;16:1-10 pubmed
    The purpose of this study was to measure the reliability of data reported on Indiana electronic birth certificates. Knowing the accuracy of birth certificate data is crucial when identifying community health needs and evaluating birth ..
  6. Kolås T, Hofoss D, Daltveit A, Nilsen S, Henriksen T, Häger R, et al. Indications for cesarean deliveries in Norway. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003;188:864-70 pubmed
    ..In the elective cesarean delivery group, the two most important indications were previous cesarean delivery and maternal request. ..
  7. Kahn E, Berg C, Callaghan W. Cesarean delivery among women with low-risk pregnancies: a comparison of birth certificates and hospital discharge data. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;113:33-40 pubmed publisher
    ..with gestational ages of 37-41 weeks in Georgia hospitals between 1999 and 2004 and for whom data from birth certificates and hospital discharge records could be linked...
  8. Guerra F, Llerena J, Gama S, Cunha C, Theme Filha M. [Reliability of birth defect data on birth certificates of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2004]. Cad Saude Publica. 2008;24:438-46 pubmed
    ..hospitals in the Unified National Health System (SUS) and compared the reports of birth defects from birth certificates with medical records of mothers and live born infants in the city of Rio de Janeiro for the year 2004...
  9. Parker J, Schenker N. Multiple imputation for national public-use datasets and its possible application for gestational age in United States Natality files. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2007;21 Suppl 2:97-105 pubmed

More Information


  1. Gyllstrom M, Jensen J, Vaughan J, Castellano S, Oswald J. Linking birth certificates with Medicaid data to enhance population health assessment: methodological issues addressed. J Public Health Manag Pract. 2002;8:38-44 pubmed
    This study linked birth certificates with Minnesota Medicaid deliveries in order to identify Medicaid births. This article describes the link between methodology and results...
  2. Barbuscia D, Rodrigues Júnior A. [Completeness of data on live birth certificates and death certificates for early neonatal and fetal deaths in the Ribeirão Preto Region, São Paulo State, Brazil, 2000-2007]. Cad Saude Publica. 2011;27:1192-200 pubmed
    ..The use of reports on local investigation of deaths is recommended as a strategy to make mortality databases more complete. ..
  3. Joseph K, Huang L, Liu S, Ananth C, Allen A, Sauve R, et al. Reconciling the high rates of preterm and postterm birth in the United States. Obstet Gynecol. 2007;109:813-22 pubmed
    ..001). Menstrual dates in U.S. data misclassify gestational duration and overestimate both preterm and postterm birth rates. For international comparisons, gestational age in the United States should be based on the clinical estimate. II. ..
  4. Xu F, Sullivan E, Madden R, Black D, Pulver L. Improvement of maternal Aboriginality in NSW birth data. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2012;12:8 pubmed publisher
    ..This has ramifications for the ascertainment of babies of Aboriginal mothers and the targeting of appropriate services in pregnancy and early childhood. ..
  5. Windham G, SUMNER A, Li S, Anderson M, Katz E, Croen L, et al. Use of birth certificates to examine maternal occupational exposures and autism spectrum disorders in offspring. Autism Res. 2013;6:57-63 pubmed publisher
    ..Parental occupation was obtained from birth certificates for 284 children with autism and 659 controls, born in 1994 in the San Francisco Bay Area...
  6. Dietz P, Bombard J, Hutchings Y, Gauthier J, Gambatese M, Ko J, et al. Validation of obstetric estimate of gestational age on US birth certificates. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2014;210:335.e1-335.e5 pubmed publisher
    ..Sensitivity was moderate in New York City and excellent in Vermont. These results suggest obstetric estimate-based preterm delivery from the birth certificate is useful for the surveillance of preterm delivery. ..
  7. Guerra F, Llerena J, Gama S, Cunha C, Theme Filha M. [Birth defects in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: an evaluation through birth certificates (2000-2004)]. Cad Saude Publica. 2008;24:140-9 pubmed
    ..Wider dissemination of SINASC data on birth defects should be encouraged. Reliability studies are recommended for better use of these reports. ..
  8. Allen A, Dietz P, Tong V, England L, Prince C. Prenatal smoking prevalence ascertained from two population-based data sources: birth certificates and PRAMS questionnaires, 2004. Public Health Rep. 2008;123:586-92 pubmed
    ..estimate of the prevalence of smoking during pregnancy by combining information from two data sources: birth certificates (BCs) and a self-administered questionnaire...
  9. Brender J, Suarez L, Langlois P. Validity of parental work information on the birth certificate. BMC Public Health. 2008;8:95 pubmed publisher the National Birth Defects Prevention Study were linked to and compared with parental work information on birth certificates. With occupational information from interviews serving as the gold standard, we assessed the quality of ..
  10. Northam S, Knapp T. The reliability and validity of birth certificates. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2006;35:3-12 pubmed
    ..Twenty-four primary research studies of U.S. birth certificates that involved validity or reliability assessment...
  11. Declercq E, Menacker F, MacDorman M. Maternal risk profiles and the primary cesarean rate in the United States, 1991-2002. Am J Public Health. 2006;96:867-72 pubmed
    ..Trends in the occurrence of medical risk factors or complications of labor or delivery listed on birth certificates and the corresponding primary cesarean rates for such conditions were examined...
  12. Ananth C. Menstrual versus clinical estimate of gestational age dating in the United States: temporal trends and variability in indices of perinatal outcomes. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2007;21 Suppl 2:22-30 pubmed
  13. Troe E, Kunst A, Bos V, Deerenberg I, Joung I, Mackenbach J. The effect of age at immigration and generational status of the mother on infant mortality in ethnic minority populations in The Netherlands. Eur J Public Health. 2007;17:134-8 pubmed
    ..The direction of these trends however differs between ethnic populations. This may be related to acculturation and selective migration. ..
  14. Adams M, Kirby R. Measuring the accuracy and completeness of linking certificates for deliveries to the same woman. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2007;21 Suppl 1:58-62 pubmed
    ..It may be, however, the most universally applicable way of reporting the completeness of the linkage of deliveries. ..
  15. Urquia M, Frank J, Glazier R, Moineddin R, Matheson F, Gagnon A. Neighborhood context and infant birthweight among recent immigrant mothers: a multilevel analysis. Am J Public Health. 2009;99:285-93 pubmed publisher
    ..Findings of neighborhood influences among recent immigrants should be interpreted with caution. ..
  16. Ross J, Spector L, Olshan A, Bunin G. Invited commentary: Birth certificates--a best control scenario?. Am J Epidemiol. 2004;159:922-4; discussion 925 pubmed
  17. Costa J, de Frias P. [Evaluation of the completeness of variables on Birth Certificates of residents in Pernambuco State, Brazil, 1996 to 2005]. Cad Saude Publica. 2009;25:613-24 pubmed
    ..The study emphasizes the importance and relevance of using the SINASC database for analyzing maternal and child health conditions. ..
  18. Luquetti D, Koifman R. Quality of reporting on birth defects in birth certificates: case study from a Brazilian reference hospital. Cad Saude Publica. 2009;25:1721-31 pubmed
    ..77 and 0.55 respectively (kappa statistic). These results suggest that information provided by birth certificates in Campinas still presents limitations when seeking to ascertain accurate estimates of the prevalence of ..
  19. Vinikoor L, Messer L, Laraia B, Kaufman J. Reliability of variables on the North Carolina birth certificate: a comparison with directly queried values from a cohort study. Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2010;24:102-12 pubmed publisher
    ..Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition cohort study participants were matched with their birth certificates to assess agreement for maternal demographics, health behaviours, previous pregnancies and major pregnancy ..
  20. De Nicola P, Cernach M, Perez A, Brunoni D. [Use of the Internet to report congenital malformations on birth certificates at four public maternity hospitals in the city of São Paulo, Brazil]. Cad Saude Publica. 2010;26:1383-90 pubmed
    The aim of this study was to improve the completion of item 34 on birth certificates at four maternity hospitals in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, in the year 2008...
  21. Coghill A, Hansen S, Littman A. Risk factors for eclampsia: a population-based study in Washington State, 1987-2007. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2011;205:553.e1-7 pubmed publisher
    ..Multiparity and smoking were inversely associated with eclampsia risk. Exposures identified more than a decade ago continue to be associated with eclampsia in contemporary birth cohorts. ..
  22. Searles Nielsen S, Dills R, Glass M, Mueller B. Accuracy of prenatal smoking data from Washington State birth certificates in a population-based sample with cotinine measurements. Ann Epidemiol. 2014;24:236-9 pubmed publisher
    To assess the accuracy of smoking data in contemporary U.S. birth certificates. We compared data on prenatal smoking as reported on Washington State birth certificates to cotinine measured in archived newborn screening dried blood spots ..
  23. DiGiuseppe D, Aron D, Ranbom L, Harper D, Rosenthal G. Reliability of birth certificate data: a multi-hospital comparison to medical records information. Matern Child Health J. 2002;6:169-79 pubmed
    ..We compared information from birth certificates and medical records in 33,616 women admitted for labor and delivery in 1993-95 to 20 hospitals in Northeast ..
  24. Honein M, Paulozzi L, Watkins M. Maternal smoking and birth defects: validity of birth certificate data for effect estimation. Public Health Rep. 2001;116:327-35 pubmed
    ..These findings suggest that birth certificate data may be useful for exploratory or corroborative studies estimating the association between birth defects and some risk factors recorded on birth certificates.
  25. Mustafa G, David R. Comparative accuracy of clinical estimate versus menstrual gestational age in computerized birth certificates. Public Health Rep. 2001;116:15-21 pubmed clinical estimate with data calculated from the date of the last menstrual period (LMP) as recorded on birth certificates. The authors analyzed 476,034 computerized birth records from three overlap years, that is, those that ..
  26. Cowden A, Funkhouser E. Adolescent pregnancy, infant mortality, and source of payment for birth: Alabama residential live births, 1991-1994. J Adolesc Health. 2001;29:37-45 pubmed
    ..Programs to prevent first and subsequent adolescent pregnancies probably have little effect on infant mortality. Efforts to prevent adolescent pregnancies should not have a short-term goal of notably reducing infant mortality. ..
  27. Moceri V, Kukull W, Emanual I, van Belle G, Starr J, Schellenberg G, et al. Using census data and birth certificates to reconstruct the early-life socioeconomic environment and the relation to the development of Alzheimer's disease. Epidemiology. 2001;12:383-9 pubmed
    ..S. census records and birth certificates to reconstruct the early-life socioeconomic environment of each elderly subject...
  28. Dobie S, Baldwin L, Rosenblatt R, Fordyce M, Andrilla C, Hart L. How well do birth certificates describe the pregnancies they report? The Washington State experience with low-risk pregnancies. Matern Child Health J. 1998;2:145-54 pubmed
    b>Birth certificates are a major source of population-based data on maternal and perinatal health, but their value depends on the accuracy of the data...
  29. Buescher P. Method of linking Medicaid records to birth certificates may affect infant outcome statistics. Am J Public Health. 1999;89:564-6 pubmed
    This study assessed how different methods of matching Medicaid records to birth certificates affect Medicaid infant outcome statistics...
  30. Keeler E, Park R, Bell R, Gifford D, Keesey J. Adjusting cesarean delivery rates for case mix. Health Serv Res. 1997;32:511-28 pubmed
    ..These adjustments should not include all variables related to the rates. Proper adjustments may not alter hospital rankings greatly, but they will improve the validity and acceptability of the reports. ..
  31. Guendelman S, Buekens P, Blondel B, Kaminski M, Notzon F, Masuy Stroobant G. Birth outcomes of immigrant women in the United States, France, and Belgium. Matern Child Health J. 1999;3:177-87 pubmed
    ..We examined information from single live birth certificates for 285,371 Mexico-born and 3,131,632 U.S.-born mothers (including 2,537,264 U.S...
  32. Krieger N, Chen J, Ebel G. Can we monitor socioeconomic inequalities in health? A survey of U.S. health departments' data collection and reporting practices. Public Health Rep. 1997;112:481-91 pubmed
    ..U.S. state and Federal vital statistics and disease registries should routinely collect and publish socioeconomic data to improve efforts to monitor trends in and reduce social inequalities in health. ..
  33. Buehler J, Prager K, Hogue C. The role of linked birth and infant death certificates in maternal and child health epidemiology in the United States. Am J Prev Med. 2000;19:3-11 pubmed
  34. Buekens P, Notzon F, Kotelchuck M, Wilcox A. Why do Mexican Americans give birth to few low-birth-weight infants?. Am J Epidemiol. 2000;152:347-51 pubmed
    ..The authors used 1994 US singleton livebirth birth certificates to compare Mexican Americans with non-Hispanic Whites...
  35. Hessol N, Fuentes Afflick E. The perinatal advantage of Mexican-origin Latina women. Ann Epidemiol. 2000;10:516-23 pubmed
    ..To further reduce the risk of low birth weight infants and infant mortality, additional research is needed for etiologic clues beyond race/ethnicity and other traditional risk factors. ..
  36. Reichman N, Hade E. Validation of birth certificate data. A study of women in New Jersey's HealthStart program. Ann Epidemiol. 2001;11:186-93 pubmed
    ..While many variables are reported very accurately on birth certificates, other measures must be used cautiously...
  37. DiGiuseppe D, Aron D, Payne S, Snow R, Dierker L, Rosenthal G. Risk adjusting cesarean delivery rates: a comparison of hospital profiles based on medical record and birth certificate data. Health Serv Res. 2001;36:959-77 pubmed 20 hospitals in northeast Ohio for whom data abstracted from patient medical records and data from birth certificates could be linked...
  38. Chen L, Bell E, Caton A, Druschel C, Lin S. Residential mobility during pregnancy and the potential for ambient air pollution exposure misclassification. Environ Res. 2010;110:162-8 pubmed publisher
    ..are not available for women who move during pregnancy when using maternal addresses abstracted from birth certificates. The aim of this study was to explore the extent of ambient air pollutant exposure misclassification due to ..
  39. Urquia M, Frank J, Moineddin R, Glazier R. Does time since immigration modify neighborhood deprivation gradients in preterm birth? A multilevel analysis. J Urban Health. 2011;88:959-76 pubmed publisher
  40. Luquetti D, Koifman R. Surveillance of birth defects: Brazil and the US. Cien Saude Colet. 2011;16 Suppl 1:777-85 pubmed
    ..Finally, we propose measures for the improvement of the existing systems in both countries focusing at the utilization of preexisting resources. ..
  41. Hueston W, Gilbert G, Davis L, Sturgill V. Delayed prenatal care and the risk of low birth weight delivery. J Community Health. 2003;28:199-208 pubmed
    ..Findings related to differences in low birth weight among women who start prenatal care later are likely due to sociodemographic differences that may influence access to early care. ..
  42. Gaizauskiene A, Padaiga Z, Basys V, Grigorjev G, Mizeriene R. Risk factors of perinatal mortality in Lithuania, 1997-1998. Scand J Public Health. 2003;31:137-42 pubmed
    ..These groups of risk factors had also the highest population attributable risk fraction. ..
  43. Dahmen N, Tonn P. Season of birth effect in narcolepsy. Neurology. 2003;61:1016-7 pubmed
  44. Magee B. Role of multiple births in very low birth weight and infant mortality. J Reprod Med. 2004;49:812-6 pubmed
    ..quot; Over 30% of VLBW infants, nearly 20% of infant mortality and >30% of infant mortality due to perinatal conditions could be attributed to multiples. Multiple pregnancy is a significant public health problem. ..
  45. David R, Rankin K, Lee K, Prachand N, Love C, Collins J. The Illinois transgenerational birth file: life-course analysis of birth outcomes using vital records and census data over decades. Matern Child Health J. 2010;14:121-32 pubmed publisher
    ..Despite some bias in exclusion of less educated parents, mortality and LBW rates suggest that the TGBF is fairly representative with regard to important infant health outcomes. ..
  46. Rothwell C. Reengineering vital registration and statistics systems for the United States. Prev Chronic Dis. 2004;1:A03 pubmed
  47. Abatemarco D, Catov J, Cross H, Delnevo C, Hausman A. Factors associated with zidovudine receipt and prenatal care among HIV-infected pregnant women in New Jersey. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2008;19:814-28 pubmed publisher
    ..A wide public health net that brings all women into care is necessary to reduce perinatal transmission further. ..
  48. Guendelman S, Thornton D, Gould J, Hosang N. Social disparities in maternal morbidity during labor and delivery between Mexican-born and US-born White Californians, 1996-1998. Am J Public Health. 2005;95:2218-24 pubmed
    ..The favorable outcomes obscure vulnerabilities in those complications that are sensitive to the quality of intrapartum care. ..
  49. Pittard W, Laditka S, Laditka J, Xirasagar S, Lovelace O. Infant health outcomes differ notably among Medicaid insurance models: evidence of a successful case management program in South Carolina. J S C Med Assoc. 2007;103:228-33 pubmed
  50. Collier S, Hogue C. Modifiable risk factors for low birth weight and their effect on cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Matern Child Health J. 2007;11:65-71 pubmed
    ..Preventing unwanted pregnancy and smoking during pregnancy would substantially reduce the burden of cerebral palsy and mental retardation in Georgia. ..
  51. Roseboom T, de Rooij S, Painter R. The Dutch famine and its long-term consequences for adult health. Early Hum Dev. 2006;82:485-91 pubmed
    ..Especially early gestation seems to be a vulnerable period. Adequate dietary advice to women before and during pregnancy seems a promising strategy in preventing chronic diseases in future generations. ..
  52. Wright C, Weiner M, Localio R, Song L, Chen P, Rubin D. Misreport of gestational weight gain (GWG) in birth certificate data. Matern Child Health J. 2012;16:197-202 pubmed publisher
    b>Birth certificates are potentially a valuable source of information for studying gestational weight gain (GWG) during pregnancy, particularly important given new Institute of Medicine (IOM) guidelines...
  53. Lauderdale D. Birth outcomes for Arabic-named women in California before and after September 11. Demography. 2006;43:185-201 pubmed
    ..The relative risk of poor birth outcomes was significantly elevated for Arabic-named women and not for any of the other groups. ..