Brazil’s Health Ministry is facing what it has termed a cesarean ‘epidemic’ as the number of wealthy mothers opting for the operation, rather than a natural birth, has seen clinics cash in on beauty treatments alongside the procedure.
Over in your lunch hour
In fact, Brazil now ranks second place worldwide for the number of mothers opting for a cesarean, beaten only by China.
Even in public hospitals C-sections are beating natural births – they can even be scheduled in during a lunch hour.
Cesareans now account for 40 percent of Brazilian births, that beats the U.S. at 33 percent and France at around 20 percent, according to the New York Times.
“The very special first meeting of mother and child has been transformed into a party. And any party has to have a specific time and place, so hence the cesareans,”Dr. Marcos Dias, a Rio obstetrician commented, opting in favor of natural births over C-section procedures.
But as the number of caesareans continues to rise to almost every eight out of ten births, women opting for the operation are now being forced to acquire a consent form signed by their doctor in an attempt to see national numbers drop.
But in body conscious Brazil, natural birth just isn’t an option for many women. Seen as an inconvenience and as a procedure which makes women sexually unattractive.
“Their self-esteem takes a bruising, they’re chubby, swollen and in their heads they see themselves as having been transformed” by the pregnancy, said Analusa Feitosa, head of nursing at private clinic Perinatal, where a three-day stay in a private room comes with a hefty $4,200 price tag.
Furthermore, as women ‘book in’ weeks in advance in both public and private hospitals to undergo the procedure, those looking for a natural birth can find themselves being passed from clinic to clinic trying to find a free bed while in labor.
“Doctors are responsible for what happens and in a situation of risk they chose a caesarean, because if there is a death or complication they will be asked why they didn’t do this. Doctors are afraid of natural childbirth.” Gynaecologist Renato Sa told the BBC.
Certainly for doctors cesareans are a more attractive option too, they are less likely to have to undergo risky procedures, avoiding law suits or litigation claims.
Yet, natural births look to continue to remain a secondary option as with about a quarter of Brazil’s population investing in private healthcare, that’s investment enough to keep the country’s cesarean baby-making train running.