Why are Caesarian births are so common in Brazil?

If you’ve been doing your research, you will be aware that Brazil has the highest rate of Caesarean sections in the world.

In 2015, 85% of all private hospital births were Caesareans, while in public hospitals it was more like 45%. These are staggering figures, once you note that the recommendations from The World Health Organization indicate that 10 – 15% is the ideal rate, and that Caesarian births should only be carried out when medically necessary.

Fortunately in July 2015, Brazil passed legislation in an effort to reduce the number of Caesarian births carried out across the country.

Under these new rules, doctors are now obliged to inform expectant mothers about the risks associated with a Caesarian birth, and they need to sign a consent form before a Caesarean can be carried out. Also, doctors now need to justify why a Caesarian birth was required. A complete record needs to be completed by the Doctor, detailing how the labour and birth developed and explaining their actions.

These new rules have had a positive impact, and data from the Ministry of Health indicates that the number of natural births is increasing across the country since the new laws came into force.

Reasons behind Brazil’s high rate of C-sections

  • Obstetricians in private hospitals are paid per birth, and not by the hour, so a fast C-section birth is more appealing to them, rather than a sometimes lengthy normal birth.
  • Many pregnant women have not been adequately informed about the pros and cons of natural versus Caesarian births.
  • Public hospitals in Brazil usually do not provide pain relief, like anaesthetics or an epidural, for natural birth, which can deter women from giving birth vaginally.
  • There is a perception among wealthier circles that caesarian births are a more dignified, convenient option.

The good news for women wanting a natural birth

If you want a natural birth in Florianópolis, you have several options.

A home birth is a mid-priced option, which allows you to give birth at home with an experienced team of midwives, who will be able to provide you with some pain relief if you so wish.

The public hospital option allows women to give birth naturally, but without pain relief. On the upside, there are no fees to pay to the public hospital and standards at Hospital Universitário are very good.

The private hospital option also allows women to give birth naturally if they prefer, for basically the same price as a Caesarian. If your budget allows, you can choose your own private doctor, who you can meet beforehand and discuss your wishes and needs. Choosing your own doctor allows you to be honest and upfront from the beginning about the type of birth that you want, and it can give you peace of mind, knowing that you already trust and know your doctor well by the time you get to the labour ward.

We can help you navigate your way through these options, and have successfully found private doctors for clients, based on their medical experience or whether they speak a particular language.

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