The UK has slipped in the rankings of the best place in the world to be a mother, according to Save The Childen's State of the World's Mothers Index, which tied the nation in 26th place with Belarus, trailing behind Finland, Norway and Sweden which came in at numbers one, two and three.

Last year the UK was ranked 23rd out of the 178 countries surveyed.

Armed conflict, political instability and natural disasters played a key part in eroding the lifestyles and well-being of mothers and children in the world's poorest countries, according to Save the Children's 15th annual State of the World's Mothers report.

Loading article content

Trouble-hit nations in Africa fill the bottom slots with Somalia ranked at 178, behind the Democratic Republic of the Congo at 177 and Mali and Niger, which were both placed at 175.

Armed violence has torn apart the lives of millions of mothers and children in countries like Syria, which is ranked at 115, and the Central African Republic, which came in at 173. They face a crisis which has displaced many inside their own borders or to flee to try and survive in a neighbouring nation. Evidence of violence against girls and women in Syria is also mounting, with young refugee girls at increasing risk of early and forced marriages.

Countries are ranked on five key factors — risk of maternal death, under-five mortality rate, educational status, economic achievement and political status.

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.