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Checking in on... the State of the World's Mothers Report

The first day of life is also the most risky, both for the infant--and often for the mother. This year's report on the [State of the World's Mothers came out last week](http://www.savethechildrenweb.org/SOWM-2013/). The focus of this report is on the first day of life. Save the Children, authors of the report, developed the first-ever "Birth Day Risk Index" to assess newborn odds of survival on that very first day that they are born.

What is really striking in this report and in this new index is the extreme vulnerability of newborns during their first month, first week and first day and hours of life. The report breaks it down in a stark series of statistics. 60% of newborns die in the first month of life. Of these, 2 million die during the first week of life. And of these, 1 million die in the first day of life.

What also stands out is how poorly the United States fares as compared to other industrialized nations. In fact it it is dead last amongst its peers. In fact the report finds that the U.S. has 50 percent more first day of life newborn deaths than all of the other industrialized nations combined.

Part of the reason that newborn deaths now stand out is because such great progress has been made in reducing child mortality.

So what is to be done? The number one recommendation, with which we concur wholeheartedly is "Address the underlying causes of newborn mortality, especially gender inequality." Educated, well-nourished girls with access to family planning can make choices which enable healthier families.

For the direct clinical interventions, the report stresses:

# Antenatal steroid injections to prevent preterm labor
# Chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care
# resuscitation during the golden minute right after birth
# injectable antibiotics for pneumonia
# education about breastfeeding and warming the baby

These simple interventions prevent 3 out of 4 newborn deaths.




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