September Birth Data News


Birth Data News

R.O.P. - Responsibility, Opportunity, Partnership!

By Molly Crawford
Minnesota Department of Human Services

Hospital birth registrars have many responsibilities. For many facilities across Minnesota, those responsibilities include helping parents who are not married to each other establish paternity. This duty is a huge responsibility. It requires incredible patience, attention to detail, and commitment to following through. The Minnesota Department of Human Services depends on you to introduce parents to paternity establishment and to help them with the process.

Your role in paternity establishment is important. Your actions make a difference. Even the subtle difference of asking a father "how" he wants to be involved in his child's life rather than "if" he wants to be involved can set a life-long expectation of father involvement and support. Your words and actions can encourage both parents to put their child's needs first.

Thank you for the work you do to assure that all Minnesota children have the opportunity of two parents in their lives.

Reminders and tips about establishing paternity through the Minnesota Voluntary Recognition of Parentage (ROP) form:

·       Hospitals are required to inform unmarried parents and administer the ROP.

·       Parents can sign ROPs any time after a child is born and parents can sign at different times and in front of different notaries.

·       Parents can sign ROPs only for children who have been named. Although birth registrars can file a birth record without a name or with "baby boy" or "baby girl" listed as the child’s name, paternity can only be established for children who have a first and last name.

·       ROPs are valid only if the Office of Vital Records files them. Once filed, the father's name will be listed on a child's birth certificate.

·       ROPs are intended to establish paternity in situations where a biological father is not married to the child's mother.

·       Hospitals should assure that parents who sign the ROP receive oral information about their rights and responsibilities. An easy way to accomplish this is by showing the parents the video, The Power of Two (copies are available at no cost from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, 651-431-4434 or

More information about the Recognition of Parentage is available from the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Contact Molly Crawford, Paternity Program Administrator, at the number or e-mail address listed above if you have questions.


Gestational Age Reporting

-- Do not round up

Each birth data field was selected with a great deal of care and discussion, and some data fields work together to form a more complete picture of the pregnancy, labor or delivery.  For example, the "Obstetric estimate of gestation in completed weeks" is one of these items. This data is linked to birth weight, number of prenatal visits and last menstrual period.

Documented by the provider, gestational age is usually based on early ultrasound results (best at 20 weeks gestation). This ultrasound is the basis for the estimated date of delivery (EDD). The gestational age at hospital admission or delivery is calculated by the provider from the EDD date. Gestational age is often reported in a delivery record as a number of weeks and days. When entering a birth record, gestational age is NEVER to be “rounded up.”  It is recorded in completed weeks.  For example, gestational age at 38 weeks and 5 days is properly entered on a birth record as 38 weeks.

Different providers and different medical & prenatal records record gestational age in different places.

Source of Gestational Age data (only acceptable sources – listed in order of preference):

1.       Delivery record
2.       Operating room record
3.       History and physical
4.       Prenatal forms
5.       Admission clinician progress notes
6.       Discharge summary

Remember – report completed weeks of gestation only – do NOT round up!



We have identified a couple of issues in MR&C:

·       Dad’s age – this field no longer displays during entry of a birth record and printing the completed worksheet/transcript. You can ignore this apparently “missing data” because the system is still calculating and recording the information on the record.

·       Entering parent Social Security Numbers  - now requires an additional mouse-click to get to the data field.

Thank you to all who reported these issues and thanks for your patience as we continue to correct and improve the MR&C system. We hope to restore these fields to their former functionality with the next system upgrade.



Determining whether to file a birth record or a fetal death report can sometimes be a challenge, especially with premature births. However, filing the correct record is crucial to prevent fraud and to ensure the correct record is registered and issued.

If the baby was born alive, a birth record is filed. This is true even if the baby has expired. If the baby was not born alive (stillbirth), and is 20 or more weeks of gestation, a fetal death report must be filed.



Due to recent statute changes affecting vital records, there no longer is a 45-day time limit on corrections to birth records.  Hospitals are now able to correct health information at any time provided that no certification, whether paper or electronic has been issued.  If hospitals are contacted by OVR staff to request validation or verification of health information on a birth record, we are asking that birth registrars make any needed corrections in MR&C.

Some hospitals are already following this procedure and for that we would like to say “thank you!”