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Health Indicator Report of Preterm Singleton Births

Prematurity increases the risk for infant morbidity and mortality. Infants born preterm are at greater risk of dying in the first month of life. Preterm infants may require intensive care at birth and are at higher risk of developmental disabilities and chronic illnesses throughout life. They are more likely to require special education services. Health care costs and length of hospital stay are higher for preterm infants. There are many health, behavioral, socioeconomic, and environmental factors known to increase the risk of preterm birth. Therefore, it is useful to track preterm birth as part of an Environmental Public Health Tracking system. Infants from multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.), are more likely to be born preterm, so to separate the effect of multiple birth from other causes, the EPHT indicator for preterm birth focuses on singleton births only.

Preterm Singleton Births by County of Residence, New Jersey, 2015

Data Source

Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health

Data Interpretation Issues

The New Jersey Department of Health has been using the obstetric estimate (OE) to determine gestational age since 1989, while the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) had been calculating it using date of last menstrual period (LMP). In 2014, NCHS changed the standard for gestational period from the LMP-based gestational age to the OE-based gestational age. OE-based gestational age for U.S. data became available for years 2007 and later in February, 2016. Data in reports published prior to February, 2016 will not match data shown here. Refer to [ Measuring Gestational Age in Vital Statistics Data: Transitioning to the Obstetric Estimate] for more information.


Percent of live born singleton infants born before 37 weeks of gestation based on obstetric estimate Preterm is synonymous with premature. Infants born at or after 37 weeks of pregnancy are called full term. Most pregnancies last around 40 weeks. Singletons are births that are not twins, triplets, or higher order.


Number of live born singleton infants born before 37 weeks of gestation to resident mothers


Number of live singleton infants born to resident mothers

How Are We Doing?

Despite some fluctuation over the past 15 years, the preterm birth rate among singletons was about the same in 2015 as it was in 2000: 7.6%. Preterm delivery of singletons is more likely among Blacks than among Whites, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics. The rate varies from 6% to 10% across counties.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

The preterm rate among singletons in New Jersey is consistently below that of the U.S. as a whole.

What Is Being Done?

The Division of Family Health Services in the New Jersey Department of Health administers programs to enhance the health, safety and well-being of families and communities in New Jersey. Several programs are aimed at improving birth outcomes. Information on programs that promote availability and use of prenatal care services may be found at: [] Information on programs that promote newborn and infant health is at: []
Page Content Updated On 03/29/2017, Published on 11/06/2017
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's NJSHAD web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Sun, 18 March 2018 22:41:00 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

Content updated: Wed, 28 Feb 2018 05:01:06 EST