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Spain among ten best countries to be a mum

AFP/The Local · 5 May 2015, 12:49

Published: 05 May 2015 12:49 GMT+02:00

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Save the Children's 16th annual Mothers' Index rated 179 countries based on five indicators related to maternal health, education, income levels and the status of women.
Spain ranked seventh, above Germany at 8th place and right below the Netherlands. While the UK was ranked a dismal 24th on the list.
In 2013, the chance of a Spanish woman eventually dying during pregnancy or childbirth was one in 15,100. The mortality rate for children under the age of five was 4.2 deaths for every 1,000 live births. 
Spanish women had high education rates, with women expected to spend 17.3 years in formal schooling.
The Save the Children report explained that there were some disparities within the Spanish population as to the well-being of women and their children. It noted a prior study in Barcelona that found poor pregnancy outcomes to be associated with poor neighbourhoods, including lower birth weights and higher rates of prematurity.
Save the Children also cited studies that showed women from developing regions like North Africa and Central and South America were actually less likely to suffer adverse outcomes from a pregnancy than mothers from developed countries, including from Spain.
"One of the main arguments to explain better pregnancy outcomes among women who migrate from a developing country to a developed one involves the healthy migrant effect – women who have gone through the migratory process tend to be younger, stronger, and have a healthier lifestyle," the report explained.
"On the other hand, after a period of years living in the host country, the health status of migrant people tends to converge towards the status of their corresponding social class."
The report also took into consideration the gross national income per capita (the equivalent of $29,920) and the rate percentage of seats held by women in parliament, which is 38 percent this year.
Scandinavian countries rank on top for mums
Norway ranked as the world's best place to be a mother, well ahead of the United States which dropped to the 33rd spot.
Norway was followed by fellow Nordic countries Finland, Iceland, Denmark and Sweden.
Scandinavian countries have consistently taken the first spots in the Mothers' Index, with Norway this year beating out Finland which held the top spot last year.
"The report is made in order to show the huge differences between the rich and the poor, and the differences between Scandinavian countries is usually small," Anders Maxon, Media Manager for Save The Children told The Local.
Among the top ten, Australia was the only non-European country, at number nine.
France and Britain take the 23rd and 24th spot, below Canada at number 20.
Somalia was the worst place, just below the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.
This year, the United States dropped from number 31 on the list to 33, behind Japan, Poland and Croatia.
American women have a one in 1,800 risk of maternal death, the worst level of risk of any developed country in the world, according to the report.
An American woman is more than 10 times as likely to die in childbirth than a Polish woman.
The ten worst places were mainly sub-Saharan African countries, with Haiti tied with Sierra Leone for the 169th spot.
Nine of the bottom ten countries are wracked by conflict.
The disparity in terms of infant mortality is striking.
In the top 10 countries, one mother out of 290 will lose a child before the age of five. In the bottom 10, that rate stands at one in eight.
Story continues below…
More young dying in Madrid than national average
Save the Children also looked at infant mortality rates in the world's 24 wealthiest capital cities with Madrid falling to 17th place at nearly four infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. The national average in Spain is a little over 3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.
By comparison, Stockholm and Oslo had infant mortality rates at or below two deaths per 1,000.
The United States' capital of Washington, D.C. had the worst infant mortality rate with 7.9 deaths per 1,000.
Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles said the data confirmed that a country's economic wealth is not the sole factor leading to happy mothers, but that policies need to be put in place.
In the case of Norway, "they do have wealth, but they also invest that wealth in things like mothers and children, as a very high priority," Miles said.
Save the Children also reported that mothers are having a tougher time in the world's expanding cities, with survival gaps between rich and poor widening.
Cities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, Vietnam and Zimbabwe have the highest gap for child survival, with poor children three to five times more likely to die than their affluent peers.

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AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.es)

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