Nonprofit Ranks Niger as Worst Place for Mothers; Norway Remains Top Pick

Nonprofit organization Save the Children has released its 13th annual State of the World's Mother's report highlighting the best and worst countries in the world to be a mother, with Niger and Norway populating opposite ends of the list.

At the bottom of the Mother's Index list, which is based on various indicators of maternal and child health and well-being, Niger has replaced Afghanistan for the first time in two years as the worst country in the world to be a mother. Norway, however, maintained its top spot as the best country to be a mother.

The report highlighted stark realities with regards to women and childbirth, noting that over half of all births around the world are not attended by skilled health personnel, one in seven children die before their fifth birthday, and eight out of 10 women are likely to suffer the loss of a child during their lifetime.

The United States landed in the 25th spot of 165 countries in the ranking – a slight upward move from its 31st spot last year – but the move was actually attributed to "improvements across education indicators," and not improvements with regard to maternal and child health and well-being.

"In the United States, mothers face a 1 in 2,100 risk of maternal death – the highest of any industrialized nation," the report read.

The report went on to suggest that the U.S. is "one of only a handful of countries in the world" that does not guarantee working mothers paid maternity leave.

Although 99 percent of deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth occur in developing countries, the U.S. has been facing an upward trend of an increasing lack of access to maternal health, and pregnancy-related deaths are actually on the rise, according to human rights organization Amnesty International.

In 2010, the organization published Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis In the USA, highlighting the staggering maternal health plight of women across the nation.

More than two women die daily from pregnancy related causes in the U.S. and "near miss" deaths have increased 27 percent from 1998 to 2005, according to research conducted by the organization.

Furthermore, maternal health related deaths have doubled in the past 20 years and more than a third of women that give birth in the United States face pregnancy and childbirth-related complications, which have adverse effects on the overall health of American women.

Race, ethnicity, age, and income are directly associated with pregnancy-related deaths and the maternal health crisis in the U.S.

"Good maternal care should not be considered a luxury available only to those who can access the best hospitals and best doctors. Women should not die in the richest country on earth from preventable complications and emergencies," Larry Cox, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, said in a statement regarding the report.

"This is an issue that effects all of us," Nan Strauss, Director for Research and Policy on Maternal Health at Amnesty International USA, told The Christian Post in a December interview.

"Maternal health and maternal mortality really are a human rights issue that is essential to women and their families, and truly everyone around the globe."