May 7th, 2010
12:00 AM ET
An Afghan mother with her two sons.
by Madison Park
What are the best and worst countries for moms? Just in time for Mother’s Day, Save the Children has ranked the countries with the best and worst maternal health.
Norway topped the non-profit advocacy group’s list, with its low infant mortality rates and high contraceptive prevalence followed by other Western countries. Meanwhile sub-Saharan African countries and Afghanistan ranked last.
The health rankings were based on lifetime risk of maternal death, percentage of women using modern contraception, the presence of a skilled attendant at birth, and female life expectancy, derived from United Nations and World Health Organization statistics. The Mothers’ Index compared the well-being of mothers and children in 160 countries.
The United States ranked number 28. Why so low?
Save the Children explains: “One of the key indicators used to calculate well-being for mothers is lifetime risk of maternal death. The United States’ rate for maternal mortality is 1 in 4,800 – one of the highest in the developed world.”
It also stated that “a woman in the Unites States is more than five times as likely as a woman in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece or Italy to die from pregnancy-related causes in her lifetime and her risk of maternal death is nearly 10-fold that of a woman in Ireland.”
Around the world, there are startling statistics: 50 million women in the developing world give birth without professional help and 8.8 million children and newborns die from easily preventable or treatable causes.
The risk of a woman dying from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes in Niger is 1 in 7. The risk is 1 in 8 in Afghanistan and Sierra Leone. Compared to Ireland (which ranked 11), that risk was 1 in 47,600.
Top 5 places for mothers:
Worst 5 places for mothers:
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