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Births – medical characteristics

As an important component of population statistics, birth statistics have a tradition going back to the 18th century. Since 1945, they have been based on the reports of the registry offices of Austria intended for administrative purposes, which in turn are based in part on reports of births by hospitals and freely practising midwives on medical and social characteristics. The recording of these characteristics at birth provides important information on the course of birth as well as the state of health of newborns, which have a decisive influence on the chances of survival in the first months as well as on future health.

The legal basis for birth statistics is the Civil Status Act 2013 as amended and the Midwives Act 2014 as amended, which specifies all the characteristics to be reported by the midwife at birth. With the start of operation of the Central Civil Status Register on 1 November 2014, electronic processing of the notification of births to the civil status authority is provided for. If the notification is made in this way, the data (medical characteristics) to be transmitted by the hospitals or the midwife to Statistics Austria for statistical purposes must also be reported electronically. However, these data are encrypted and therefore cannot be viewed. Only an internet connection is required for electronic notification of births. The website ö provides an input mask for the notification of a live or stillbirth.

Midwives must report every live birth and stillbirth to the competent civil status authority. In addition to the data required by the civil status authority, the notification must also contain the medical and socio-medical data specified in the Midwives Act.

The following definitions apply:

Live birth: Live birth is the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother of a product of conception, irrespective of the duration of the pregnancy, which, after such separation, breathes or shows any other evidence of life, such as beating of the heart, pulsation of the umbilical cord, or definite movement of voluntary muscles, whether or not the umbilical cord has been cut or the placenta is attached; each product of such a birth is considered liveborn.

Stillbirth: a foetus shall be considered stillborn or deceased in childbirth when none of the above signs are apparent and it has a birth weight of at least 500 grams.

Midwives must report every live birth and stillbirth to the competent civil status authority within one week. Foetal death (birth weight below 500 grams) do not have to be reported.

After registration of the live or stillbirth at the registry office, the notification with the medical information is forwarded to Statistics Austria.

Last updated on 2023-03-06.
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