Birth has become overly medicalized in Brazil.

Sure, that is a true statement for almost any country in the world. As we look at the rates of unnecessary interventions and abuse of technology, from cesareans to inductions to institutional violence, we have begun to ask ourselves what we can do to change this reality.

It is my hope that in sharing the birth practices of Brazil others may put this information to good use, consciously asking questions and adapting strategies that work to the needs of their communities. Let us remember that our cultural beliefs, fears and myths play a big part in maternal and perinatal health. It is only human to fear that which we do not understand.

Brazil is a country of women who live in diverse birth realities. Although it is accepted as a fact that 99% of pregnant women receive care in hospital, this is not true. Women in the poorest and most remote areas of the North, Northeast and Amazon Rainforest areas of Brazil may have to travel great distances to get to a hospital. Thus, in these areas due to this and local cultural women are still largely attended by Traditional Midwives at home.

Now, in the large metropolitan cities women do have easir acess to hospitals. The care in maternity hospitals is largely medicalized. A large number of births are c-sections (some hospitals rate up to 99%), the births that do end up being vaginal are most likely to include a cascade of rotine interventions from oxytocin (pitocin), shaving of the pubic area, epidural anesthesia, forceps, episiotomy and mother-baby seperation.

I have been involved with what is called being called the Humanization of Birth movement, both locally and internationally. When we used the term Humanization, it can mean different thing to differnt people but focuses on care that is respectful and based on the best scientific evidence available [evidence-based practices]. My role as an educator and doula is to offer options to women, to offer resources for risk veresus benefit of interventions and to support women´s autonomy to choose the birth they want.

Birth philosophy is life philosophy. We give birth the way we to live our lives.

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