When you’re planning a pregnancy like I have been for the past 13 months you think of every detail: birth month, school districts, neighborhoods, daycare centers, money, names, college savings, cloth or disposable, discipline styles the list goes on and on.
Living in America, one thing I hadn’t considered was the over all well-being of becoming a mother in this country. I mean, this is America. Women have babies here all the time. Surely, we’ve got it good, right?
Perhaps not as good as we think.
When I came across the CNN article that stated that the good ol’ U.S. of A. ranks a measly 30 out of 176 countries by Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mother Report, I was shocked. According to the CNN article, countries were ranked “according to five indicators of a mother’s well-being: maternal health (the risk of maternal mortality); children’s well-being (the mortality rate of children under five); educational status (number of years of formal schooling a woman receives); and political status (the participation of women in national government).” What’s more, the United States performed “poorly in under-five mortality rates, maternal death, and political participation, compared to other highly-developed countries.”
So, if the US is doing so poorly, what countries are doing the best? And while there’s a lot of room for improvement, many other countries are a lot worse off than America.
The Best + The Worst 1 of 11
Click through to find out whose doing it the best, and where it's the worst...
Original Photo: iStockphoto
Worst #5: Niger 2 of 11
In Niger, 27 percent of babies have low birth weight. More than 2/3 of women in their 20s were married by age 18, and 51 percent of all women were mothers by the age of 18. Contraceptive use is low, while fertility rates in Niger are the highest in the world: Each woman has an average of seven children. 13.3 percent of government seats are held by women.
Worst #4: Mali 3 of 11
First-day death rates of babies are among some of the highest in the world in Mali. And Mali is "among the riskiest places in the world to be a mother." 1 in 28 women face the risk of dying from maternal causes. 10.2 percent of government seats are held by women.
Worst #3: Sierra Leone 4 of 11
Worst #2: Somalia 5 of 11
Babies in Somalia have the highest risk of dying the same day they are born, with 18 out of every 1,000 live births resulting in death that same day. Additionally, 1 in 16 women are likely to die during childbirth in Somalia. 13.8 percent of government seats are held by women.
Worst #1: Democratic Republic of Congo 6 of 11
The Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the riskiest places in the world to be a mother, with 1 in 30 women likely to die of a maternal cause, and 9 out of 10 women there likely to have a child under 5 die. The country ranks poorly for babies and children too: an average of 48,400 babies die the same day they're born, and 1 in 6 children in this country don't live to see their 5th birthday. 8.3 percent of government seats are held by women.
Best #5: Netherlands 7 of 11
Maternal death is rare in the Netherlands, with 1 out of every 10,500 women dying from maternal causes. The country also boasts a first-day death rate of 1 in 1,000, and a mortality rate for children under 5 years old at 4 in 1,000. 37.8 percent of government seats are held by women.
Best #4: Iceland 8 of 11
Best #3: Norway 9 of 11
Norway is another high-ranking country. Only 1 in 1,000 babies die on their first day; 2 in 1,000 die during their first month; and 3 in 1,000 die before their 5th birthday. The lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 7,900, and 39.6 percent of government seats are held by women.
Best #2: Sweden 10 of 11
Sweden has some of the lowest first-day mortality rates in the world, with less than 0.5 per 1,000 live births. The country also has a low rate of 1 in 1,000 babies that die within their first month, and of 3 in 1,000 of children that die before age 5. Mothers have only a 1 in 14,100 chance of dying from maternal causes. 44.7 of government seats are held by women.
Best #1: Finland 11 of 11
Finland has the lowest stillbirth rate in the world (along with Singapore) of 2 per 1,000 births. Only 1 in 1,000 babies die their first day; 2 in 1,000 their first month; and 3 in 1,000 by the age of 5. 1 in 12,200 women are at risk of dying from maternal causes. And 42.5 percent of government seats are held by women.
So tell me: Are you ready to move?
Read more of Aela’s writing at Two Moms Make a Right