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The best and worst places in the world to be a mom

mom and baby.jpg

Just in time for Mother's Day, Save the Children has released its annual list (.pdf) of the best and worst places for mothers. The report, which looks at the health and well-being of women and children around the world, ranked 160 countries based on mothers' access to education, economic opportunities and health care.

The verdict? If you're a mom, Norway, Australia, Iceland, Sweden and Denmark are the five best places to be. The U.S. came in at 28 (lower than other wealthy countries because of its maternal mortality rate and maternity leave policies, according to a release), and Afghanistan ranked last. Niger, Chad, Guinea-Bissau and Yemen rounded out the bottom five.

StrollerDerby has a nice take on the rankings:

It would be easy to dismiss the ranking as just a gimmick, but the point of the index is to draw attention to dire conditions for women and children around the world. Nearly 350,000 women die during pregnancy or childbirth every year and nearly 9 million children die before their fifth birthday.

In the bottom 10 countries, conditions for mothers and children are grim. On average, 1 in 23 mothers will die from pregnancy-related causes. One child in 6 dies before his or her fifth birthday and 1 child in 3 suffers from malnutrition, according to a statement from Save the Children.

Some other scary statistics: only 6 percent of births in Ethiopia (ranked 145) are attended by skilled health personnel; 1 in 7 women in Niger die of pregnancy or childbirth-related causes; and child mortality rates are higher than 1 in 4 in Afghanistan. Even if the U.S. placed below other wealthy nations on the list, I feel awfully lucky for having had my children here.

Photo by Praziquantel

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