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Preterm births

HQMNZ ID: HQM16.6.29.924


All maternity services are consistently delivered to the highest standard across NZ.


Percentage or number of of babies born preterm (under 37 weeks)


Contributory measure

Relationship(s) to other frameworks

Ministry of Health. 2015. New Zealand Maternity Clinical Indicators 2013. Wellington: Ministry of Health


Preterm birth is a significant contributor to perinatal mortality and neonatal morbidity, especially for babies born under 32 weeks’ gestation. Preterm birth is among the top causes of death in infants worldwide (WHO 2013). Management of maternal hypertension and tobacco use may reduce rates of early preterm birth. Clinical decision-making regarding timing of induction and elective caesarean section affects rates of late preterm birth.

Eligible population

Live-born babies

Measure status



Total number of babies born under 37 weeks’ gestation


Total number of babies (live-born)

National target


Local target

Milestones to be decided by Alliance

Data Sources

National Maternity Collection, Mortality Collection

Data extracted from data sources

MAT, fact mat agg birth

  • National Health Index (NHI) number
  • Baby date of birth
  • Birth key
  • Baby birth status
  • Gestational age

Mortality Collection

  • NHI number
  • Baby date of birth

Data availability

This measure is reported annually on the Ministry of Health website: www.moh.govt.nz (Search: NZ Maternity Clinical indicators)

Measure calculation process

1. Extract baby data from MAT.

2. For each baby, search for any stillbirth registration in Mortality Collection. If any, exclude from dataset.

3. Exclude babies where Baby birth status = ‘SB’.

4. Exclude babies with gestational age < 20 weeks

5. Numerator: count the number of babies (birthkey) where gestational age < 37 weeks.

6. Denominator: count the number of babies (birthkey)

7. Rate: numerator / denominator * 100.

Measure development notes

Template: System Level Measure Template