According to Save the Children, a baby’s first day of life is his most dangerous. As data from the 14th annual State of the World’s Mothers report shows, each year, more than 1 million babies die on the very day they’re born, and 75% of these deaths could be prevented with some basic, cost-efficient care practices in place. The 2013 edition of this report, aptly entitled, “Surviving the First Day,” goes on to share that the United States is a major part of the problem when it comes to newborn mortality.

It is now riskier to be born in the United States than it is to be born in 68 other countries, with 11,300 U.S. babies dying on the day they’re born.

Additionally, this valuable report is also packed with information about what it means to be a mother in today’s world, and apparently it’s not at all a good thing to be a mama today in the good ol’ USA. As in past year’s reports, the United States ranks abysmally low when it comes to mother-value and care, coming in as only the 30th best place to be a mother in the entire world. That’s just shameful. Keep reading to see how other countries stack up and to find out the best and worst places in the world to be a mom.

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The 10 Best Places to be a Mother in the World Today

American mamas-to-be should pack their bags, because as it turns out, the 10 best places to be a mom are:

  1. Finland – number one best!
  2. Sweden
  3. Norway
  4. Iceland
  5. Netherlands
  6. Denmark
  7. Spain
  8. Belgium
  9. Germany
  10. Australia

Finland ranks number one, because according to Save the Children, they offer strong systems across the board when it comes to all dimensions of maternal and child health and well-being. Even though Finland fails to perform the absolute “best” overall on any one indicator, it is the only country to place in the top 12 on all five indicators that Save the Children feels leads to the best mother and baby care and welfare. So, Finland’s overall, consistently high performances in all areas of mother and baby care is what gained them these top honors.

And the 10 worst places to be a mom? Well, those places include:

  1. Côte d’Ivoire
  2. Chad
  3. Nigeria
  4. Gambia
  5. Central African Republic
  6. Niger
  7. Mali
  8. Sierra Leone
  9. Somalia
  10. DR Congo – absolute worst.

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Why Isn’t America a Top Place to Be a Mom or Baby?

It’s unsettling, but maybe not surprising, to learn that the United States ranks so poorly when it comes to health and care for mamas and babies. Why is this? According to Save the Children, while the U.S. performs well on educational and economic status (both 10th best in the world) it lags behind all other top-ranked countries when it comes to maternal health (46th in the world) and children’s well-being (41st in the world). Following are some key reasons why the United States ranks so poorly.

  • In the United States, women face a 1 in 2,400 risk of maternal death. That’s insanely high for a developed country. Just five developed countries in the world fair worse, including Albania, Latvia, Moldova, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
  • Women in the U.S. are more than 10 times as likely as a woman in Estonia, Greece or Singapore to eventually die from pregnancy related causes.
  • The under-5 mortality rate in the U.S. is 7.5 per 1,000 live births, which crazily is roughly on par with rates in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Qatar and Slovakia. This means that children in the United States are three times as likely as children in Iceland to die before their 5th birthday.
  • Women hold just 18% of seats in the United States Congress. Sadly, a full half of all countries in the world perform better than the U.S. on this political health care for women and babies indicator and sixteen countries have more than double the percentage of political seats taken up by women.
  • The United States has the highest adolescent birth rate of any industrialized country.
  • To put the U.S. baby death rate into scary perspectives, only 1% of newborn deaths in the entire world occur in industrialized countries. The United States has one of the highest first-day death rates in the industrialized world with 50% more first-day deaths than ALL other industrialized countries combined. A large population size doesn’t justify the massive baby death rates in the U.S. according to Save the Children. While the U.S. represents 31% of the population in 34 industrialized countries and 38% of the annual live births, it still has 60% of all first-day deaths.

How you can help make the world a better place for babies and mamas: 

+ State of the World’s Mothers

All images © Save the Children