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1 Million Babies Die The Day They're Born, Save The Children Says

WESTPORT, Conn., May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A baby's birth day is the most dangerous day of life — in the United States and almost every country in the world — according to Save the Children's State of the World's Mothers report, released today.

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Yearly, more than 1 million babies die the day they are born, according to the first global analysis of newborn day-of-death data. 

In addition to newborn findings, the report features Save the Children's Mothers' Index , released annually before Mother's Day.  It ranks Finland as the best place in the world to be a mother, and Democratic Republic of the Congo as the toughest. The United States ranks 30 th best.

The Mothers' Index rankings draw on five indicators: education, income, female political representation and the chances a mother and her baby will survive. 

The 2013 State of the World's Mothers theme is newborn health and "Surviving the First Day." A new Birth Day Risk Index ranks 186 countries by the chances a baby will die on the first day of life. 

The United States is a riskier place to be born than 68 other countries, according to analysis by Save the Children and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

The United States has more first-day deaths than the rest of the industrialized world combined, largely due to higher U.S. prematurity rates.  Approximately 11,300 U.S. babies died on their birth day in 2011, the report says.  Some U.S. counties have first-day death rates common in the developing world, where 98 percent of all first-day deaths occur.

"It's hard to imagine the depth of one mother's pain in losing her baby the very day she gives birth, let alone a million times over,"  said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children.  "Yet, this report is full of hope.  It shows there's a growing movement to save newborn lives and growing evidence we can do it — saving up to 75 percent of them with no intensive care whatsoever."

Since 1990, child mortality has dropped from 12 million annual deaths to under 7 million.  But the report shows newborns have benefited the least.  In sub-Saharan Africa, as many newborns die now as two decades ago.

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