Birth, Culture, Brazil

Privade Hospitals X Public Hospitals

Brazil is a country divided by social and economical disparity. It is also one of the world champions of cesarean rates, maintaing a national rate of around 40% c-section. That´s bad but not that bad, one might think, many other countries are showing similarly high rates. Then we see what the numbers really say.

Women who give birth in Public, government-funded, hospitals face a 37% c-section rate.

Women who give birth in Private, either by private insurance or out-of-pocket payment, face an 80% c-section rate.

In my personal experience through researching birth practices throughout the country I have heard of many hospitals with 99% c-section rates. People ask me how that´s possible, the answer is simple:

Women have scheduled cesareans before they ever get a chance to go into labor and possibly have a vaginal birth.

This happens usually around 38 weeks, which has been linked to the rise in prematurity, since some babies may not be "ready" to be born at the time of the c-section. It is also common for women to be told by their ob/gyn to chose the date for their c-section during their 1st pre-natal visit based solely on their due date.

These women are in large part not educated on the risks versus benefits involved with choosing a scheduled c-section before the onset of labor. And this is has become a matter of public health since it not only effects their own births but the whole ,aternity health care system. With c-sections are the norm hospital staff does not come in contact with normal childbirth on a daily bases.

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