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. For more info, see Measuring What Matters Miami Dade.
Nationally, in 2020 was 8.2% of births were under 5.5 pounds, so Maine's rate is better than the national average. March of Dimes

What the data shows

Since 1998 the percent of low-birth weight babies in Maine has generally been rising. It was 5.8% in 1998, compared to 6.9% - 7.5% between 2013-2021. It was 7.3% statewide in 2021.

In 2021, three counties had rates of low-birth weight babies above 9.5%. These were Piscataquis, 9.8%, and Waldo and Androscoggin, both at 9.5%. Two counties had under 6% of babies with low-birth weights, including Knox at 5.0% and York at 5.7%.  


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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.
Updated: January 2023.