When it comes to your maternal health, there is no such thing as being too prepared or too careful. While there are many ways to measure a nation’s maternal health standing, it’s safe to say that a good measure is the number of maternal and infant deaths during or shortly after birth.
The United States is good at many things – fostering innovation, rewarding success, protecting individual freedoms – but according to Save the Children’s annual report, first-day infant and maternal health are not among them; in the U.S., pregnant women face a one in 2,400 risk of maternal death – only five developed countries perform worse. The report ranks the U.S. 30th in worldwide maternal health rankings.
The report’s Birth Day Risk Index compares first-day death rates for babies in 186 countries, identifying the safest and most dangerous places to be born. The report found that in the industrialized world, the U.S. has, by far, the most first-day deaths. Only one percent of the world’s newborn deaths occur in industrialized countries, but the U.S. has an estimated 11,380 newborn deaths each year – this is 50 percent more than all other industrialized countries combined.
This statistic speaks against the U.S’s funding for newborn survival programs – the U.S. provides more funding for these programs than any other country. So why is first-day infant mortality so high in this country?