Perinatal deaths were systematically investigated over a 25-month period in a Zimbabwean district and were classified into pathological subgroups according to Wigglesworth. There were 319 perinatal deaths (a rate of 30.6 per 1000) including 83 normally formed macerated stillbirths, 28 cases of congenital malformation, 79 deaths associated with immaturity, 111 due to asphyxial conditions developing in labour and 18 specific problems. Syphilis infection was a contributory factor among 27 cases, hypertension in 39 cases, amniotic fluid infection in 31 cases and diabetes in 11 cases. An avoidable factor was detected among 242 cases (75.6%) involving the mother in 120 cases, the maternity centres in 28 and the hospital in 94. These data suggest that educational programmes should try to convince all the pregnant women to attend an antenatal clinic at least once. A further perinatal mortality reduction might be obtained through treatment for syphilis, hypertension, diabetes and amniotic fluid infection, closer monitoring of the fetal condition during labour and skillful management of dystocia.