Preterm birth is defined as a live birth before 37 completed weeks gestation. Some other classifications of preterm births include late preterm (34-36 weeks), moderately preterm (32-36 weeks) and very preterm (<32 weeks). These classifications are useful because they often correspond to clinical characteristics - increasing morbidities or illnesses with decreasing gestational age. Babies born too soon are often born too small. While the causes of preterm birth and low birthweight may be different in some cases, there is significant overlap within these populations of infants.
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In 2021, 1 in 10 babies (9.7% of live births) was born preterm in New York.
The rate of preterm birth in New York is highest for black infants (13.6%), followed by Hispanics (10.4%), American Indian/Alaska Natives (10.1%), Asian/Pacific Islanders (8.7%) and Whites (7.8%).
Compared with singleton births (one baby), multiple births in New York were about 8 times as likely to be preterm in 2021.
Notes: Preterm is less than 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Sources: National Center for Health Statistics, final natality data. Retrieved April 1, 2023, from www.marchofdimes.org/peristats.
Maternal age is a risk factor for preterm birth, with higher preterm birth rates found among the youngest and oldest mothers in the U.S.
During 2019-2021 (average) in New York, preterm birth rates were highest for women ages 40 and older (13.1%), followed by women under age 20 (9.8%), ages 30-39 (9.5%) and ages 20-29 (8.6%).