Change Indicator

Pre-term births in Maine

  • Detailed
  • Sort / Rank

Why This Indicator Matters

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. 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. March of Dimes- preterm birth health issues

What the Data Shows
Approximately 10.5% of all births in the US 2021 were premature compared to 9.3% in Maine. In both United States and in Maine, preterm births spiked in 2021, with the highest rates in 15 years.
In the United States in 2021, the preterm birth rate among black women is 14.7%, 62% higher than the rate among all other women. Preterm births rise in 2021  

In Maine, the percent of preterm births has been on an upward trend since 2012. This trend of recent increases mirrors national data.  The 2021 rate in Maine was 9.3% and in 2020 it was 8.9% and in 2017 just 8.1%.

For 2021, the counties with the highest rate of preterm births as a percentage of all births were: Waldo (12.0%), Lincoln (11.4%) and Penobscot (11.4%) while the counties with rates of preterm births under 8.0% were: Cumberland and Knox, both at 7.9%.

show more

Definition and Source



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.


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.

Updated January 2023.

Last Updated

January 2023