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Report Finds U.S. Is Not A Great Country for Moms

The Short of It

A new report is sharing disturbing news about how the United States ranks in terms of infant mortality and maternal death rates.

The Lowdown

Humanitarian relief organization Save the Children has released its "State of the World's Mothers 2015: An Urban Disadvantage" report that ranks 179 countries in terms of the best and worst places for moms. This year, the U.S. dropped from 31st place in 2014 to 33rd.

In evaluating countries, the report looks at infant mortality and maternal death rates, educational opportunities for kids, economic factors and participation of women in the national government.

"In some United States cities, urban child survival gaps between rich and poor are greater than those found in developing countries," according to the report.

The rate of women who die during childbirth or from pregnancy-related causes is 1 in 1,800. To put that in perspective, that is 10 times worse than moms living in Belarus.

About 7 in 1,000 American children die before their fifth birthday, which is the same sobering statistic faced by Serbia. Haiti ranked the lowest.

Cleveland, Detroit and Baltimore are among the worst cities for infants, and Washington, D.C., has a higher infant mortality rate than any capital of a wealthy nation in the world, with 6.6 deaths per 1,000 births. It's worth mentioning this is actually the lowest it has ever been.

A woman's race and economic status seem to play the biggest roles in her risk factors for death or losing her baby.

"In many U.S. cities, poor, unmarried and young African-American mothers are losing their babies at much higher rates than the U.S. average," the report says.

For example, in San Francisco a black mom is six times more likely to lose her baby before his or her first birthday than a white mom.

The Upshot

Experts say the infant mortality rate is so high in the U.S. because of the lack of prenatal care education. Some hope this report will serve to encourage women's and children's health care providers to focus on social factors that may lead to poor outcomes. Meanwhile, the fact this is the only high-income country that doesn't guarantee paid maternity leave may also play a role in the facts behind this disturbing report.

Are you surprised by these findings?

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