by Pregnancy.org Staff
Mother's Day is celebrated once a year, but moms worldwide are faced with myriads of challenges every day. According to a survey distributed by "Save the Children*,"the way these needs are met around the world certainly impacts the health, well-being and overall satisfaction of "being a mom."
Each year, "Save the Children" surveys the Women's Health Rankings in 164 countries. The rankings are based on contraception, skilled birthing attendants, risk of maternal death, economic opportunities and life expectancy. Which countries stood out in 2011?
Norway and Australia topped the list while the United States dropped three spots to 33rd out of the 44 developed countries examined. Afghanistan was ranked the lowest.
What's most important to you as a mom? Is it feeling your baby kicking inside of you and looking forward to meeting him or her? Is it when you're breastfeeding, knowing your baby will fall asleep with a content smile? Is it as simple as waving goodbye to your child at the bus stop knowing they'll be safe at school? All moms worldwide all have the same needs -- to feel confident that their babies will thrive and grow up to be happy, confident, resilient children with access to a proper education, clean food and water and ample economic opportunities.
Despite ongoing conflicts and rising civilian casualties, expecting mothers in Afghanistan are at least 200 times more likely to die during childbirth than from the bombs or bullets. One in 11 Afghani women will die from pregnancy or childbirth complications. According to the survey, Afganistan isn't a safe place to be born, either. One in four children do not live past their fifth birthday.
What factors help lower maternal and infant mortality rates? The answer is basic health care, sanitation, and better nutritional habits. You don't have to live in a developing country to strive for a safer pregnancy and babyhood. Here's an opportunity to research and learn which factors are most vital to you. We've pulled together these articles to get you started:
• How can your lifestyle before pregnancy be more eco-friendly? 10 Tips to Prepare for Your Pregnancy
• Does early prenatal care helps prevent problems throughout your pregnancy? The Important First Prenatal Appointment
• Which skilled health care provider would you like attending the birth? Birthing Choices: Care Providers & Labor Locations
If your baby is born too soon, have you considered kangaroo care? What Is Kangaroo Care?
The United States has stepped up its efforts to provide aid to developing countries. This aid has been instrumental in cutting the infant mortality rate in these countries by an astounding 47% between 1990 and 2009. Sadly, the United States turns a blind eye to the needs of its moms and children here at home.
What are the other countries doing that the United States isn't? Let's look at some specifics from the high ranking countries. In Sweden for example, 45% of the congressional seats are held by women compared to 17% in the United States. Denmark offers 52 weeks of maternity pay at 100% of wages. In comparsion, women in the United States have no mandated maternity pay and must return to work within 12 weeks. Here are more statistics gleaned from the survey: