Still birth


Dernière mise à jour le :13/10/2016


In general, a child must be declared with the births, deaths and marriages register when the gestation period has lasted at least 180 days. Since March 1993, a "still birth" certificate is drawn up only if it has not been established that the child was born alive and viable.

This is the case :

  • when the child, dead at the time of declaration with the births, deaths and marriages register, was born alive, but not viable. The civil status officer draws up the certificate upon production of a medical certificate regardless of the gestation period ;
  • when the child died before the declaration of birth at the town hall, without a medical certificate stating he/she was born alive and viable ;
  • when the child was still born. Since the 30 November 2001 circular, a still life bulletin can be established as of 22 weeks of amenorrhea or if the child has reached a weight of 500 grams (viability criterion of the World Health Organization, WHO).

In 2008, a new legislative change took place. Indeed, the decree n2008-800 of August 20th, 2008 redefined the notion of dead child. Henceforth, the act of dead child is established on the basis of a medical certificate of childbirth (delivery). The criteria of the gestation duration, 22 weeks of amenorrhea, or weight, 500 grams, are not taken into account anymore.

This legislative change pulled in 2008 and in 2009 an increase of the number of dead children. The French data on the dead children cannot be so compared any more with those of the other countries (for whom the criteria of weight and of gestation duration still remain).

The registration takes place in the municipality of birth or in the municipality where the child was when the still birth was recorded.


Until February 1993, if a child was alive at the time of declaration, the registrar recorded a birth certificate. Otherwise, he recorded a "still birth" certificate, whether the child had lived or not. This certificate could still be drawn up if the declaration was made more than three days after the birth.