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U.S. Ranks 11th When It Comes to Women's, Children's Health

Sweden is first, new survey says

When someone asks you what you want for Mother's Day this year, maybe you should tell them you want the United States to be more like Sweden.

According to an article at CNN, Sweden is tops among 94 countries when it comes to women's and children's health, education and political status. The U.S. came in 11th, behind Canada, Australia, eight European countries -- and just ahead of Cuba.

The State of the World's Mother Index, from the group Save the Children, looked at 10 factors to come up with its rankings. The report examined access to skilled medical care before and during birth, contraception, protection from HIV and AIDS, and gender-based violence. "When countries take measures to ensure that mothers are healthy, well-nourished and well-educated, they vastly increase the likelihood that their children will do well and grow into strong, productive members of society," Charles MacCormack, president of Save the Children, says in a statement.

In Sweden, trained health workers are present at nearly all births, contraception is readily available and only three of 1,000 infants die before reaching their first birthday. By contrast, Ethiopia, which is much lower on the list, has medical workers at only 10 percent of births. And only 2 percent of women there use contraception and 118 of 1,000 babies die before their first birthday.

The United States didn't do too well on another index, the Girl's Investment Index, which ranks countries according to girls' health and education, young motherhood and safe motherhood. The U.S., which came in 22nd, did poorly because of its high adolescent pregnancy rate, the article says. While teen pregnancy is dropping here, about 1 million American girls under age 20 still get pregnant each year.

If society isn't going to take care of you, you might as well learn how to do it yourself. Here are some tips from Prevention magazine. For information on safe motherhood, you can read this series of articles from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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