UK childbirth deaths ‘twice as likely as Poland’
Women in the UK are more than twice as likely to die in pregnancy and childbirth as those in Poland, Austria or Belarus, according to a charity.
Save the Children’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report placed the UK in 24th place globally in the best places to be a mother, meaning it is the third year in a row the country has failed to make the top 10.
It is a slight improvement on 2014, however, when it was 26th in the rankings. Norway, Finland and Iceland were in first, second and third place respectively.
The UK, which has not made the top 10 since 2012, was also behind countries including Spain, Slovenia, Israel and Greece.
The United States languished even further behind in 33rd place, while Somalia remained last for the second year running with all but two of the 11 bottom-ranked countries in the world in West and Central Africa.
The 2015 report found women in the UK face a one in 6,900 risk of maternal death.
This was far greater than Poland (19,800), Austria (19,200) and Belarus (45,200).
In the US the figure was a one in 1,800 lifetime risk of maternal death – the worst performance of any developed country in the world.
The charity also calculated that a child born in the UK is more than twice as likely to die before the age of five as in Iceland or Luxembourg, with the UK having a child mortality rate of 4.6 per 1,000 births, and the other two countries being 2.1 and two respectively.
High-risk pregnancies in the UK are thought to be linked to obesity, IVF, social deprivation, multiple pregnancies as well as increased maternal age and poorer access to healthcare, especially in some ethnic minority communities.
Data from sources such as UN agencies is used by Save the Children to create the index.