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Maternal & Child Health Data

Preterm Births, 2021

Preterm birth and low birthweight can be associated with developmental and physical challenges for newborns that can have lasting effects on their health and well-being. Nationally, more than 10 percent of births were considered preterm in 2019. Not all mothers have equal access to prenatal care and pregnancy supports, which—in some cases—can help prevent preterm births. Structural racism in the health care field can drive differences in access to prenatal care across racial and ethnic groups. Experiencing racism and associated trauma can also directly affect health outcomes and drive inequities across groups. The table below presents data disaggregated by race and ethnicity to help us identify inequities and work toward solutions that promote equity.

Home Visiting as Part of the Solution. Home visiting is associated with lower likelihood of preterm birth among participating mothers compared to nonparticipating mothers. Home visitors help expectant mothers access prenatal care and encourage healthy behaviors during pregnancy, which can help support full-term pregnancy.

Preterm Births by State, 2021

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State All Groups Percent Black or African-American Percent Hispanic Percent White

Notes: Race and Hispanic origin are reported separately on birth certificates; persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race. In this table, non-Hispanic women are classified by race. Race categories are consistent with the 1997 Office of Management and Budget standards. More information can be found at Single race is defined as only one race reported on the birth certificate. Hispanic includes all persons of Hispanic origin of any race. NA indicates when the data do not meet National Center for Health Statistics standards of reliability.

Definition: Preterm births refers to the percentage of births to women in 2021 where the gestational age was less than 37 weeks. This includes all births to women aged 15–64 occurring within the United States to residents and nonresidents.

Source: Osterman, M.J.K., Hamilton, B.E., Martin, J.A., Driscoll, A.K., & Valenzuela, C.P. (2023). Births: Final Data for 2021: Supplemental tables. Table I-19. Preterm births, by race and Hispanic origin of mother: United States, each state and territory, 2020. National Vital Statistics Reports, 72(1).