HEADLINES Published November12, 2015 By Bernadette Strong

U.N.: Maternal Mortality Twice as High in U.S. as in Canada

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A nurse holds a newborn baby at a hospital in Florida.
(Photo : Joe Raedle, Getty Images)

American women are twice as likely to die from causes related to pregnancy or childbirth than Canadian women, according to a report published by the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the World Bank. The report is an overview of a global survey of maternal mortality

Adding to the bad news for the United States, it is also one of only 13 countries to have worse rates of maternal mortality in 2015 than were seen in 1990. This group of countries includes North Korea, Zimbabwe, and Venezuela.

The survey is intended to track progress in maternal health against the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. The goal is to reduce the average number of maternal deaths worldwide to below 70 per 100,000 live births by 2030 and have no country averaging more than 140 maternal deaths per live births. It estimated there will be 303,000 maternal deaths globally this year. This is down from 532,000 maternal deaths in 1990; It is a drop of nearly 44% to an estimated 216 (maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015, down from 385 per 100,000 live births in 1990.

The United States and other developed countries are already far ahead of this target, and have very low maternal death rates, but the American average maternal death rate has slipped from 12 deaths per 100,000 in 1990 to 14 per 100,000 live births over the past 25 years. Canada's maternal death rate is the same this year as it was in 1990, at 7.

Belarus has reduced its maternal death rate from 33 per 100,000 live births to 4, making it one of the safest places in the world to have a baby. The world leaders in maternal safety are Iceland, Finland, Poland and Greece, where only 3 mothers die for every 100,000 births.

The world average is 216 deaths per 100,000 live births, ranging from 12 in developed countries to 546 in sub-Saharan Africa. Sierra Leone is estimated to have the highest maternal mortality rate, at about 1,360 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015.

You can read the entire report here

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