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Tuesday
May072013

Finland Is Best Place to Be a Mom, Report Finds

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Looking to bring a new baby into the world?  Europe seems to be the place to do it, according to a new report from Save the Children.

The organization is out Tuesday with its annual State of the World's Mothers report.  After studying 176 countries, it found that nine out of the top 10 places to bring a newborn into the world are in Europe.

"This year Finland comes out on top as the best place to be a mother and the Democratic Republic of the Congo comes out as the toughest place to be a mom," says Carolyn Miles, the president and CEO of Save the Children.

Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Netherlands, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Australia round out the top 10, in that order.

As far as the U.S. goes, the country ranks 30th on the list, which Miles notes is "not particularly a great place to be."

The U.S. also didn't score so well in another area the report examined: deaths among newborns.

"Not only does the U.S. rank 30th but when we looked at first-day deaths, it's the highest first-day death rate in the industrial world," Miles points out.

She says the high rank was mainly due to a lack of prenatal care among some mothers.

"The issue really in the United States is making sure that poor moms have the availability particularly of prenatal care and they access prenatal care," Miles says, adding that changes under the Affordable Care Act were not a factor because the report covered a period before Obamacare was implemented.

Worldwide, the report found great reductions in deaths among children under 5, but little or no change among newborns.

"We're really doing a good job of saving the lives of kids under 5 so the child mortality rate since 1990 has been cut almost in half but the newborn rate, the number of newborns, those kids that die in the first month, has really not changed nearly as much," Miles says.

She says the good news "is that there are some really simple low-cost interventions that we know can make a big difference and these are not things that need to be delivered in high-tech hospitals."

These measures include umbilical cord antiseptics, availability of antibiotics, injectable steroids and simple techniques to stimulate breathing at birth.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio