The chance of a woman in the Netherlands dying during pregnancy or childbirth has decreased by over half since the start of the century. This makes the Netherlands the fifth-safest country in the world to have a baby.
While at the end of the 20th century, one woman in 4.400 would die during pregnancy or in childbirth, now that chance has decreased to one in 10.500.
This is according to the State of the World’s Mothers, a report by charity Save the Children, a leading independent organisation that works to create permanent change for children in need around the world.
The Netherlands is the only country in the index’s top 10 that has seen such a big improvement since the report began in 2000.
Increase in western maternal mortality
In contrast to the Netherlands, other western countries have seen their figures increase by half, including the United States and Denmark. While Denmark is still in the top 10, the United States is ranked at 31, behind most European nations.
Other western countries showing with worser figures include Switzerland (by 19 per cent), Spain (by 23 per cent) and New Zealand (by 27 per cent).
Save the Children says that a greater number of higher risk pregnancies with obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases among others, all of which are growing, could have an influence on maternal mortality.
And “Over half of these maternal and under-five deaths take place in fragile settings, which are at high risk of conflict and are particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters,” the report says. This explains why some countries, many of them in Africa (e.i. Somalia, where one in sixteen mothers do not survive pregnancy, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Niger and Mali) are on the bottom of the list.
Top 10 countries for mothers
According to this research, the 10 best countries for mothers are:
Italy ranked 10th, Portugal 13th, Ireland 18th, France 19th, Greece 20th. The United States ranked 31st.
For more information, read the State of the World’s mothers report.