Save the Children's 2011 State of the World's Mothers report ranks 164 countries on women's access to healthcare, education and opportunities. Following Norway are Australia, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands and France.
The United States places 31st out of 43 developed countries this year, dropping three spots from last year's rankings.
The world's toughest place to be a mother is Afghanistan, where two of every five children are malnourished and one in five will die before age 5. Afghan women have less than five years of schooling on average, and female life expectancy is only 45.
In contrast, in Norway, one in 333 children dies before age 5, women typically complete 18 years of schooling and live to age 83, the report says.
Eight of the world's 10 worst countries to be a mother are in Sub-Saharan Africa, the report at www.savethechildren.org, says.