State of the World’s Mothers Report: The “Best” and “Worst” Places To Be a Mother

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Save the Children‘s thirteenth State of the World’s Mothers report was released yesterday–providing a ranking of the “best” and “worst” places to be a mother, based on various indicators such as lifetime risk of maternal death, number of years of formal schooling, maternity leave benefits, access to safe water, under 5 mortality rate, and many others. The report, titled Nutrition in the First 1,000 Days: The State of the World’s Mothers 2012, takes a close look at the role of nutrition during the period from the start of a mother’s pregnancy through her child’s second birthday, the first 1,000 days.

Save the Children’s thirteenth State of the World’s Mothers report shows Niger as the worst place to be a mother in the world — replacing Afghanistan for the first time in two years. Norway comes in at first place. The Best and Worst Places to Be a Mom ranking, which compares 165 countries around the globe, looks at factors such as a mother’s health, education and economic status, as well as critical child indicators such as health and nutrition. This year, the United States ranks 25th.

While the ranking is fascinating, it is worth digging deeper into this report–where you will uncover surprise success stories that don’t show up in the “best” and “worst” lists. For example:

Solomon Islands is one of the least developed countries in the world, yet it performs very well on early nutrition indicators, demonstrating that a strong policy environment and individual adoption of lifesaving nutrition practices can matter more than national wealth when it comes to saving children’s lives. Within an hour after birth, 75 percent of babies in Solomon Islands are put to the breast.

Read more about the case of Solomon Islands on Page 29 in the report.

Be sure to also take a look at the section on the state of maternal malnutrition. (Page 16)

Many children are born undernourished because their mothers are undernourished. As much as half of all child stunting occurs in utero, underscoring the critical importance of better nutrition for women and girls. In most developing countries, the nutritional status of women and girls is compromised by the cumulative and synergistic effects of many risk factors. These include: limited access to food, lack of power at the household level, traditions and customs that limit women’s consumption of certain nutrient-rich foods, the energy demands of heavy physical labor, the nutritional demands of frequent pregnancies and breastfeeding, and the toll of frequent infections with limited access to health care.

Read the full report here.