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Fetal and Infant Mortality Review

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Fetal and Infant Mortality Review

For more information send us an email or phone 619-542-4039.

Purpose: The Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) program works to prevent as many future deaths as possible through case review, education and advocacy.

Facilities where this Service is offered:


About FIMR

Each year in San Diego County there are between 450 and 500 infant and fetal deaths. An infant death occurs when a baby is born alive but dies before his or her first birthday. The most common medical causes are congenital anomaly (birth defect), prematurity (being born too early), and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). A fetal death, often called a stillbirth, occurs when a baby dies in the womb after the 20th week of pregnancy and before birth. The most common cause is a complication with the mother's pregnancy. The Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Program, or FIMR, works to prevent as many future deaths as possible.

FIMR Goals:

Goal 1: To identify factors beyond non-preventable medical reasons that cause babies to die before their first birthday or be stillborn.

FIMR gathers information about infant and fetal deaths. State law authorizes the Public Health Officer to investigate deaths. FIMR acts on behalf of the Public Health Officer. FIMR takes care to safeguard the privacy of the family when gathering information about a baby who has died or a stillbirth.

In addition to looking at medical records, FIMR tries to uncover other factors in the system of care that may have played a part in a death. Did the mother get prenatal care? Did she have trouble knowing where to get care, paying for her care or getting to her appointments? Did she get all the information she needed to stay healthy or to take care of her baby? Did the family have friends and relatives who could encourage and help them? FIMR invites families that have had a loss to participate in a confidential interview. The interview gives the family a voice in identifying gaps in care and problems with the system.

When all the information about a death has been collected, a volunteer expert panel reviews the case. All information is confidential. The panel never knows the family's or baby's name, the name of the doctor, hospital, or other agency that may have served the family. These volunteer doctors, nurses, social workers and program managers come from different systems and programs. Their knowledge and experience help FIMR identify what could have been done differently. They recommend what the community can do to help prevent future deaths.

Goal 2: To mobilize the community to take action and make changes that may prevent future deaths.

FIMR's Community Action Team works to put the recommendations into action. The recommendations cover many factors that can affect a pregnant woman or baby, not just medical conditions. The Community Action Team welcomes people and organizations from all fields and all parts of the County. If you would like to join, please call FIMR at 619-542-4050.

The Community Action Team has worked on many issues during the past five years. Its work groups have developed written material about several topics. You may download some of these items from this site and print them at no charge. Health care and other providers who serve women can obtain the following items free of charge by calling FIMR at 619-542-4050:

  • Preterm labor video and curriculum (English or Spanish)
  • Healthy Lifestyles before pregnancy curriculum and patient education pamphlet (English and Spanish)

The Community Action Team is now working to develop a new program in the community. The program will help families who have a loss get the information, support, and help they need. FIMR is looking for parent volunteers who have had a pregnancy loss or infant death and who think they would like to reach out to other parents through this new program. Please call Gayle White at 619-692-8667 if you would like to learn more.

Resources and Links

  • San Diego's FIMR follows the model developed by the National FIMR program. To learn more, check out the National FIMR program on the Web site of the the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
  • San Diego's FIMR is part of the California FIMR program. Information is available at
  • The FIMR Bereavement Resource Guide is for families who have experienced a baby's death or a stillbirth (English only). It can be printed and reproduced at no charge. Last updated May 2002.
  • The Signs and Symptoms of Preterm Labor contains two camera-ready reminder cards per page that describe the signs and symptoms of preterm labor and what to do. It includes one page in English, one page in Spanish, and one page with one card in English and one in Spanish. It can be printed and reproduced at no charge.
  • Resources for Childcare Providers: These fact sheets were prepared for childcare providers to inform them of ways they can help prevent infant deaths. They are available in both English and Spanish and can be printed and reproduced at no charge.


For more information send us an email or phone 619-542-4039.