LMP: Getting it Right
The "date last normal menses began" may be the hardest data item to collect. It was the most-corrected data field for all 2011 data.
Birth data is reviewed by our office and shared with the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), a division of the National Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). Often, we see improbable data. For example, we've received last menstrual period (LMP) dates that calculate to a gestational age of two or three weeks for a full-term infant! Or, we'll receive incomplete or unknown dates of last menstrual period. Our office must return these records to the birth registrars for verification before they can be submitted to NCHS. That takes valuable time.
However, what happens when the data is improbable but true? We know that unusual situations occur. When this happens, please use the notes field at the end of the birth record to indicate that you have verified the unusual data. We won’t call and ask you to verify it again because we’ll know it wasn’t an error. Unavailable data should not be estimated (or calculated with a pregnancy wheel). If you are forced to report a large number of “unknowns” on a birth record, use the notes field to let us know that you have verified the data is unavailable.
If you continually have difficulty obtaining LMP dates or other data items from a specific provider or clinic, please let us know. We can contact individual offices or providers to explain why this information is required.