Low birth-weight infants in Maine

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Why This Indicator Matters

Babies born with low birth weight are more likely than babies of normal weight to have health problems and require specialized medical care in the neonatal intensive care unit. Low birth weight is typically caused by premature birth and fetal growth restriction, both of which are influenced by a mother's health and genetics. The most important things an expectant mother can do to prevent low birth weight are to seek prenatal care, take prenatal vitamins, stop smoking, and stop drinking alcohol and using drugs.
Source for this info about low birth weight babies: Measuring What Matters Miami Dade.
Nationally, according to the Healthy People 2020, the most recent rate reported in 2015 was 8.2% of births were under 5.5 pounds. It is Healthy People 2020 objective to reduce this to 7.8% by 2020.
Maine has been under that rate for every year shown, from 1997 - 2017.

What the data shows

Since 1997 the percent of low birth weight babies has generally been on an upward trend, from 6% and under between 1997 and 2002 to 6.9% in 2006, It then dipped again and the 2006 rate was not reached again until 2013.  2014 was the highest year for low birth weight babies, at 7.5%. It has been less than that in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

In terms of county variation, in 2017, Hancock County had the highest percentage of low birth weight babies at 9%, with Androscoggin the second highest at 8.2%. The counties with the lowest percent of low birth weight babies were Franklin at 4.2% and Kennebec at 5.4%.

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Data Provided By

Definitions: The number and percent of live births in which the newborn weighed less than 2500 grams (5.5 pounds). The numerator is the number of births under 5.5 pounds and the denominator is the number o f live births.

Data Source: Maine Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Data, Research and Vital Statistics.

Footnotes: NA=Not available
LN= Low Numbers and data is suppressed.

Last data uploaded: September 2018.