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The Mamafesto: U.S. has lowest maternal health ranking in developed world

The U.S. prides itself as a country ahead of the rest, yet there’s no denying that when it comes to the health and wellness of mothers and children, we’re sadly behind the pack. And that is nothing to be proud of.

Global charity Save the Children recently published their 16th annual State of the World’s Mothers report, which included the fact that the United States ranks 61st worldwide when it comes to maternal health, performing worse than any other developed nation. Ouch.

In fact, according to the report, a woman who is pregnant in the U.S. is 10 times more likely to die due to a pregnancy related problem than women in Poland, Belarus and Austria.

It should also be noted that the poor ratings for maternal mortality in the U.S. were connected to lack of prenatal care, a lack of education, poverty and race. The report noted that a black mother in San Francisco is six times more likely to lose her baby before his or her first birthday than a white mother. And, all of these contributing factors also come together in a perfect storm when looking at an area like Detroit, for example, where the maternal mortality rate is triple that of the rest of the country.

U.S. children aren’t faring much better. Save the Children looked at infant mortality rates in capital cities, reporting that Washington, D.C. had the highest rate of infant mortality in 25 cities (7.9 percent). And much like its maternal death rates, Detroit has a much too high infant mortality rate of 12.4 percent. Compare that to cities like Oslo or Stockholm, where the infant mortality rate is lower than 2.0 percent. The jump in numbers is truly staggering.

The U.S. did come out on top in some categories, though. In addition to looking at maternal and child health, the State of the World’s Mothers report also looked at economic and educational status, and the U.S. performed well in both categories. Unfortunately, a good education and decent money don’t seem to have an impact on maternal and child mortality rates. And, when it came to overall rating, the U.S. dropped two spots from last year, moving down to 33rd on the list of 179 surveyed countries.

If you’re curious which 10 countries ranked the highest according to Save the Children, look no further (and possibly start planning a trip to Europe). The top 10 include: Norway, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Australia and Belgium.

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