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Best and worst places to be a mother released by Save the Children

The charity group Save the Children released their annual best and worst places to be a mother ranking with Norway coming in first and African nation Niger coming in last just after Afghanistan.

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A small Nigerois boy looks on as he sits with his mother whilst waiting for treatment in a Save The Children Clinic in the village of Kouna on August 10, 2005 near Tessaoua, Niger. (Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

Niger is the worst country in the world to be a mother, while Norway is the best, says a new report by Save the Children.

The charity group's annual Mothers' Index uses indicators looking at women's health and rights, as well as child health to rank 165 countries.

According to the Guardian, Niger edged out places like Afghanistan, Yemen and Guinea-Bissau for worst spot due to a recent food crisis.

Afghanistan was ranked the worst place to be a mother last year due to high maternal mortality, a lack of access to contraception and a curb on women's political rights.

Yet, the country has seen slow improvement with increasing education for women and more representation in politics.

Norway topped the list scoring high in contraceptive use, female education and representation in national politics.

According to CTV News, Norwegian women can take up to 36 weeks off work after giving birth with 100 percent of their pay or 46 weeks with 80 percent of their pay.

They also topped the charts with nearly all babies in the country being breastfed.

The United States improved dramatically on this year's list falling six spots to 25th place due to female economic empowerment and education.

The US still lags behind Western nations in the mortality rate of children, the lifetime risk of dying from childbirth and maternity leave policies.

“A woman in the U.S. is more than seven times as likely to die of a pregnancy-related cause in her lifetime than a woman in Italy or Ireland,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, reported Forbes.

“When it comes to the number of children enrolled in preschools or the political status of women, the United States also places in the bottom 10 countries of the developed world.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120508/best-and-worst-places-be-mother-released-save-the-children