New research shows Vermont has among lowest preterm birth rate

 

  • Mississippi has the highest rate of babies born before 37 completed weeks of gestation 
  • Louisiana has the second highest percentage of preterm births 
  • New Hampshire is the state with the lowest percentage of preterm births 

 

Vermont Business Magazine Mississippi has the highest percentage of preterm births across the US, according to new research, with 14.79% or 5,119 out of a total 34,609 births in 2022. Louisiana and West Virginia rounded out the top three. The state with the lowest number of preterm births is New Hampshire, with only 8.17% or 985 preterm births out of the total 12,062. Vermont ranked fifth lowest at 8.86%, or 467 births out of 5,275 total births.

Analysts at Birth Injury Lawyers Group examined 2022 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to discover which states have the most babies being born prematurely. They gathered the total number of births and the number of preterm births in each state, comparing the two to calculate the percentage of preterm births. 

Mississippi is at the top of the list for the states with the highest percentage of babies born before 37 completed weeks of gestation. The state experienced 5,119 preterm births in 2022 among the 34,609 total number of births – that is a staggering 14.79% of all births in Mississippi being babies born early. 

Louisiana is the state with the second highest number of preterm births in America; 13.29% of births in Louisiana are babies born before the completed 37 weeks. This means that Louisiana saw 7,455 babies born prematurely out of the 56,096 total number of births. 

The state with the third highest rate of preterm births is West Virginia, with 12.98% of all births accounting for babies that are born too early. That is 2,194 preterm babies out of the 16,905 total number of births. 

Alabama has the fourth highest rate of preterm births. Alabama sees 7,457 preterm births out of the 58,079 total number of births in a year; this means the percentage of babies born before 37 weeks of gestation in Alabama is 12.84%. 

Georgia has the fifth highest number of babies born too early, with 11.87% of all births being preterm. This means that out of the 125,827 total number of births in 2022, 14,936 of these were babies born before 37 weeks. 

In Arkansas, 4,161 out of the total 35,380 births were babies being born prematurely in 2022, making it the sixth highest state for preterm births. That is 11.76% of all births in Arkansas that were preterm, just under Georgia. 

Kentucky is just behind Arkansas in seventh place, with 11.7% of all births being babies born before 37 completed weeks. This means out of the 52,219 total number of births, 6,110 were preterm. 

The state with the eighth highest number of preterm births is South Carolina. South Carolina experienced 6,708 preterm births out of the 57,775 total number of births in 2022 – that is 11.61% of all births being babies born too early. 

Out of the 24,316 total number of births a year in Nebraska, 11.34% of these are babies born before 37 weeks – this equates to 2,757 preterm births. This puts Nebraska in ninth place for the states with the highest number of preterm births. 

Missouri comes in tenth place for the states with the highest percentage of babies born preterm. Out of the total number of 68,977 births, 7,801 of these are births that were before 37 completed weeks of gestation. This means Missouri’s percentage of babies born too early is 11.31%, just under Nebraska. 

Across the United States, there were approximately 3,661,220 reported births in 2022, and approximately 380,035 of these were preterm. That is equal to 10.38% of all births across the country being babies that are born prematurely. 

Table: The complete ranking of all US states from highest to lowest percentage of preterm births 

The complete ranking of all US states from highest to lowest percentage of preterm births . CDC

Birth injury expert Bob Goldwater from Birth Injury Lawyers Group said of the findings: “Premature birth can cause delays in the development of all organs, including the brain. The weight of the human brain increases by nearly a third between 34 weeks and 40 weeks – so it’s a sensitive time for brain growth, and premature birth can damage this time of development.  

“While we cannot control some causes of premature birth, such as illnesses, factors like drug or alcohol use during pregnancy can increase the chances of a baby being born too early.” 

Methodology 

Using the number of total births and preterm births published by the CDC, Birth Injury Lawyer Group calculated the percentage of babies born preterm from these figures and ranked US states from the highest to lowest percentage. 

Sources: 3.20.2024. Preterm births: Provisional Data for 2022 – U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. https://birthinjurylawyer.com/  

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