The Best - And Worst - Places To Be A Mother

14/08/2014 16:49 | Updated 22 May 2015

The best - and worst - places to be a mother

The annual 'State of the World's Mothers' report from Save the Children has revealed the best and worst places to be a mother in 2013.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is the world's toughest place to be a mother - and Finland the best - according to the Mother's Index, within the report. The Mother's Index looks at 176 countries which are succeeding – and failing – to save the lives of mothers and newborn babies.

The UK is ranked number 23 - behind Nordic countries Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland which make the top four – and other countries in Europe, including Spain, Belgium and France.

A woman or girl in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has a one in 30 chance of dying from maternal causes - including childbirth - but in Finland the risk is one in 12,200.

In last year's report the UK ranked 10th, however the criteria for the ranking has changed since 2012. The indicators have been reduced from 12 to five, and the report now assesses mothers' lives based on:

Maternal health

Under five mortality rate

Women's education

Women's income

Women's political status

Save the Children suggests the UK's low ranking could be down to fewer women in Parliament and higher maternal and infant mortality rates than much of Europe.

The charity says some of the reasons behind our relative low position on maternal and infant mortality include teenage pregnancies and IVF treatment, which means the UK has a higher proportion of younger and older mothers, as well as obesity or cardiac disease during pregnancy, and poverty and inequality.

Commenting on the report, Brendan Cox, Policy Director at Save the Children, said: "This ranking reminds us that even in wealthy countries, there will be higher rates of mortality in the poorest communities and no country should be complacent.

"The situation is, of course, far worse in the poorest countries where many more mothers and babies are lost from what should be simple preventable causes.

"Save the Children is calling on the UK government to make sure that universal access to healthcare and better nutrition is a priority at home and abroad."

The top 10:











The bottom 10:

Côte d'Ivoire




Central African Republic



Sierra Leone


DR Congo

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