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Pre-term births in Maine

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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 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 10.4% of all births in the US 2022 were premature compared to 9.5% in Maine.
In both United States and in Maine, preterm births spiked in 2021, with the highest rates in 15 years and 2022 is almost as high. In the United States for 2020-2022, the preterm birth rate among black women is 14.6%, substantially higher than the rate among all other women.  March of Dimes Preterm Birth Rates

In Maine, the percent of preterm births has been on a upward trend since 2012. This trend of recent increases mirrors national data.  The 2022 rate in Maine was 9.5%, higher than 9.3% the previous year and 8.9% in 2020 and in 2017 was just 8.1%.

For 2022, the counties with the highest rate of preterm births as a percentage of all births were: Franklin (12.2%), Androscoggin 11.8% and Piscataquis 11.5% while the counties with rates of preterm births under 8.0% were: Hancock, 7.0%, Somerset 7.4%, and Sagadahoc, 7.9%.

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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.

Last Updated

February 2024