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Health Indicator Report of Very Preterm 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. The more preterm an infant is born, the more severe the health problems are likely to be.

Very Preterm Births by County of Residence, New Jersey, 2014-2016

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 infants born before 32 weeks of gestation based on obstetric estimate Preterm is synonymous with premature. Infants born before 37 weeks of pregnancy are considered preterm and those born before 32 weeks of pregnancy are considered very preterm. Infants born after 37 weeks of pregnancy are called full term. Most pregnancies last around 40 weeks.


Number of live born infants born before 32 weeks of gestation to resident mothers


Number of live born infants born to residents mothers

Healthy People Objective: Very preterm or live births at less than 32 weeks of gestation

U.S. Target: 1.8 percent

How Are We Doing?

The percentage of infants born very preterm (before 32 weeks of gestation) among New Jersey residents is 1.6%. The rate varies by several maternal and infant characteristics. The rate among Blacks is two to three times the rates among other racial/ethnic groups. More than 40% of triplets and nearly 70% of quadruplets are born very preterm compared to 10% of twins and only 1% of singletons.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

The very preterm birth rate in New Jersey is the same as in the nation 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.
Page Content Updated On 05/10/2018, Published on 05/10/2018
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 Mon, 23 July 2018 0:05:29 from Department of Health, New Jersey State Health Assessment Data Web site: ".

Content updated: Wed, 23 May 2018 05:01:08 EDT