Pre-term births (single year data)

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Why This Indicator Matters

The "March of Dimes Premature Birth Report Card" cites data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) that found the U.S. preterm birth rate went up from 9.6 percent of births in 2015 to 9.8 percent in 2016.  Effects of premature birth-March of Dimes  In 2017, Maine was one of three states with Vermont and West Virginia to have the least amount of racial disparity for this measure according to the March of Dimes report. 
Maine March of Dimes Report Card 

Babies born before 37 weeks are more likely to have health problems and often need to stay in the hospital longer than babies born later. Some health problems may not show up for several years, even into adulthood. Premature birth can affect the baby’s brain and their lungs. There can be a greater likelihood of intellectual delays and behavioral health issues such as ADHD or Autism and neurological issues such as cerebral palsy. Finding and treating health problems as early as possible — and preventing premature birth overall — can help babies lead longer, healthier lives. FMI:
March of Dimes- on preventing preterm births

What the Data Shows
The number of preterm births went down each year between 2009 and 2012, and then the trend was reversed, as between 2012 and 2016, it has gone up each year.  In 2017, it went down. This trend of recent increases, despite a long period of decline mirrors national data.  Nationally the 2017 rate was 9.8%, while in Maine it was 8.1%.

For 2017, the counties with the highest rate of preterm births as a percentage of all births were: Piscataquis (14.9%) and Kennebec (10.5%) while the counties with the lowest rate of preterm births were: Lincoln (6.6%) and Know (7.6%) Counties.

In 2017, 19.7% of the preterm births were cases where the mother gave birth to twins or other multiple births.
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Definitions: The number and percent of live births in which the newborn was born at less than 37 weeks gestation.
The numerator is the number of live births with 37 or less weeks of gestation and the denominator is all live births.

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

Footnotes: Footnotes: NA=Not available, * means the numbers are suppressed due to low numbers.
State-level data available back to 1990.  County-level data not available for all years prior to 2009.
Note that the state totals include any preterm births where the county is not known.

Last uploaded: September 2018.