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Missoula Measures - Birth Weight


graph low birthweight MIssoula and Montana 1993-2012 

Source: Vital Statistics, MDPHHS.



Why this topic?

Low Birth Weight babies (LBW - less than 5 1/2 pounds) are more likely to have a host of physical and mental health issues.  While their early lives often require much specialized health care intervention, they are also at much higher risk for a host of developmental and physical problems through out their lives. 

In the US, in 2012:

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graph low birth weight Missoula, Montana, US

Healthy People 2020 & Montana Health Rankings by County

Community Medical Center has the obstetric unit in Missoula County.  Below is a table of their Extremely Low, Very Low and Low Birth Weight babies.  At least half of their babies are from rural areas outside the county. So far in 2014 a zip code analysis puts the rate of LBW Missoula County infants at 4.1%.

Birthweight # in 2013 % in 2013
ELBW - 150-4999g (<1 lb) 2 .10%
ELBS - 500-999g (<2 lb, 3 oz) 11 .60%
VLBW - 1000-1499g (<3 lb, 5 oz) 10 .60%
LBM - 1500-2499g (<5 lb, 8 oz) 111 6.70%
OVERALL 1657 8.0%

Through September of 2014 the rate of LBW for all babies born at Community Medical Center is about 10.2%, out of a total of 944 births so far.

More data and discussion


Corroborating sourced include CDC and Health People 2010.


graph first prenatal visit by trimester, Missoula County 

Vital Statistics, MDPHHS

Infant mortality is closely related to birth weight.

graph infant mortality rates Montana, Missoula and Healthy People 2020 goal 

Healthy People 2020 Targets

  • Increase women who receive early and adequate prenatal care (first trimester) from 70.8% TO 77.9%
  • Reduce low birth weight from 8.2% of live births TO 7.8%
  • Increase percent of women who do not smoke during pregnancy from 89.6% TO 98.6%


Long-term effects

A 2011 Quality of Life research study "suggests that caring for a baby born with very low birth weight can have negative effects for maternal health, contributing to long-term or chronic stress for the mother." University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. W. Witt



Related websites

Maternal & Child Health Bureau - Recent national trends.

Links to health data, statistics and information from many general sources.


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