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Health Indicator Report of Preterm Birth

Preterm birth, birth before 37 weeks gestation, is the leading cause of perinatal death in otherwise normal newborns. Infants born before 32 weeks gestation bear the biggest burden representing more than 50 percent of infant deaths. Babies born preterm also have increased risks for long term morbidities and often require intensive care after birth. Average hospital stays for preterm infants without complications are three times longer than a term infant, and for a preterm birth with complications, hospital stays are over eight times longer. Health care costs and length of hospital stay are higher for premature infants. Utah inpatient hospital discharge data (2013) indicate that average hospital charges for a premature infant was $64,190 (DRG 386, 387, 388) compared to $2,670 for a normal newborn infant (DRG 391). Utah inpatient hospital discharge data (2013) indicate that average length of stay for a premature infant was 16.6 days (DRG 386, 387, 388) compared to 1.9 days for a normal newborn infant (DRG 391).

Preterm Births (Less Than 37 Weeks Gestation), Utah and U.S., 1995-2014


2014 U.S. data is preliminary.

Data Sources

  • Utah Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Records and Statistics, Utah Department of Health
  • National Vital Statistics System, National Center for Health Statistics, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


The number of live births under 37 weeks gestation divided by the total number of live births over the same time period.


Number of live born infants born less than 37 weeks gestation.


Total number of live births.

Healthy People Objective MICH-9.1:

Reduce total preterm births
U.S. Target: 11.4 percent
State Target: 8.9 percent

How Are We Doing?

Utah's preterm birth percentage increased from 8.8% in 1990 to 10.1% in 2005 and has been declining since. The rate of preterm birth in 2014 was 9.1%; essentially unchanged from 2013. Utah's rate is below the Healthy People 2020 Objective of 11.4%.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Nationally, the percentage of preterm births has been declining since 2006, reaching a low of 11.3% in 2014 (preliminary).

What Is Being Done?

Approximately half of preterm births in Utah are due to complications of the pregnancy (multiple births, placental problems, fetal distress, infections) or maternal health factors such as high blood pressure or uterine malformations. The remaining preterm births have unexplained causes. In an effort to reduce the preterm birth rate, emphasis is being placed on maternal preconception health to help women achieve optimal health prior to pregnancy. Some ways women can achieve optimal health would be to stop use of tobacco and alcohol, get chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure under control, and obtain an optimal pre-pregnancy weight. Early and continuous prenatal care is encouraged to detect problems that may arise during pregnancy. Women should be educated regarding the danger signs of pregnancy and the importance of recognition and treatment for these symptoms. Standards for assisted reproductive technology should be followed to reduce the frequency of twins or higher order multiple pregnancies. Pregnant women should also be referred for appropriate services such as WIC and psychosocial counseling. Several recent clinical trials have demonstrated a substantial reduction in the rate of recurrent preterm birth in women receiving progesterone supplementation. Pregnant women who have had a previous spontaneous preterm birth, particularly in the immediately preceding pregnancy, should be offered progesterone supplement beginning at 16-20 weeks gestation. Progesterone supplementation has no beneficial effect in reducing preterm birth in women pregnant with multi-fetal (twins, triplets, etc.) pregnancies. It is likely that the ability to more precisely define who is, and is not a candidate for this treatment will be improved in the next few years. In addition, the optimum dosage(s) and method(s) of administration remain uncertain. The maternal intervention group of the Utah Women and Newborn Quality Collaborative (UWNQC) consists of physicians, nurses, and administrators that represent the major healthcare systems, hospitals, Utah Department of Health, and specialty organizations (American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Academy of Pediatrics) involved with care of women and their unborn children. Among the group are leaders in the field of preterm birth research and care-providers for women with all levels of risk for preterm birth. The group meets frequently to identify the most important issues to address in the state of Utah to improve the health of women and newborns. In addition, the group will design and implement plans to improve the quality of care provided in our state. The maternal intervention group has identified optimization of 17 alpha hydroxyprogesteronecaproate (17 P) use to prevent recurrent spontaneous preterm birth (SPTB) in women with a previous history of SPTB as the primary focus of our efforts for the next 1-2 years.

Available Services

'''Utah Women and Newborn Quality Collaborative:''' [][[br]] Provider and patient education about improving maternal and neonatal outcomes through collaborative efforts centered on quality improvement methodology and data sharing. '''The Power Your Life website:''' [][[br]] Public education about how to be at optimal health prior to pregnancy.[[br]] [[br]] Social media for Power Your Life include: *Facebook: [] *Twitter: @Poweryourlife2 *Pinterest: [][[br]] [[br]] '''Utah Tobacco Quit Line:''' 1-888-567-8788 '''Baby Your Baby Hotline:''' 1-800-826-9662[[br]] A resource to answer pregnancy related questions and locate services for the public. '''MotherToBaby:'''[[br]] Phone - 1-800-822-2229[[br]] Text - 1-855-999-3525[[br]] Email -[[br]] A service to answer questions about what's safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.[[br]] [[br]] Social media for MotherToBaby include: *Facebook: [] *Twitter: @MotherToBaby *Pinterest: [][[br]] [[br]] '''Baby Watch Early Intervention Hotline:''' 1-800-961-4226[[br]] Utah's network of services for children, birth to three years of age, with developmental delay or disabilities. '''March of Dimes, Utah Chapter:''' [][[br]] The mission of the March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.[[br]] *Facebook: [][[br]] *Twitter: @MarchofDimes[[br]] *YouTube: [][[br]] [[br]] '''University of Utah Health Care Parent-to-Parent Support Group:''' 1-801-581-2098[[br]] Support Program for families of high risk/critically ill newborns.
Page Content Updated On 12/23/2015, Published on 01/05/2016
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Sat, 28 May 2016 19:56:10 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Tue, 5 Jan 2016 11:47:38 MST