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Important Facts for Birth Outcomes: Preterm Singleton Births

Definition

Preterm live singleton births is the number of live singleton infants born before 37 weeks of gestation to resident mothers divided by total number of live singleton infants born to resident mothers. Very preterm live singleton births is the number of live singleton infants born before 32 weeks of gestation to resident mothers divided by total number of live singleton infants born to resident mothers. Also considered preterm are 'Very low birthweight' live singleton births, the number of live born singleton infants with a birthweight of less than 1,500 grams divided by total number of live singleton infants born to resident mothers.

Numerator

The number of live-born singleton infants with prematurity characteristics.

Denominator

Total number of live singleton infants born to resident mothers

Data Interpretation Issues

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and most state vital records offices report gestational age based on an algorithm that utilizes both the mother's reported last normal menses and clinician's estimate of gestational age. The LMP indicator is used unless its value appears to be inconsistent with birthweight, falls outside likely parameters, or was not reported. If so, the clinical estimate is used. Nationwide in 2004, approximately 5.9% of gestational age values were based on the clinical estimate.

Why Is This Important?

Preterm birth (at less than 37 completed weeks of gestation and among all births regardless of plurality) affects more than 500,000 or 12.5% of live births in the US and is a leading cause of infant mortality and morbidity. All infants born preterm are at risk for serious health problems; however, those born earliest are at greater risk of medical complications, long-term disabilities, and death. Studies have shown that children born prematurely, especially those with very low birth weight (VLBW) have an increased risk of neurological problems ranging from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to cerebral palsy or mental retardation in comparison with those born at term gestation (1, 6, 9, 15). Preterm birth is associated with nearly half of all congenital neurological defects, such as cerebral palsy (10); it is also associated with congenital gastrointestinal defects, such as gastroschisis.

Healthy People Objective: Reduce preterm births

U.S. Target: Not applicable, see subobjectives in this category

Other Objectives

CDC Environmental Public Health Tracking, Nationally Consistent Data and Measures (EPHT NCDM)
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Content updated: Fri, 5 Sep 2014 12:50:21 MDT