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Sunday
Jan252009

"WHO" Cares? Brazil's 93 Percent Cesarean Rate in Private Hospitals

In response to the WHO’s current recommendation of a 10 to 15 percent Cesarean rate, private hospitals in Brazil ask, “Yeah, well, WHO cares?”

Abby Epstein reported on the Business of Being Born’s message board about her trip to Brazil to film a segment on the alarming Cesarean rate for the upcoming sequel.  According to her post, she thought it would be important to include a look at what has happened to childbirth in Brazil as a harbinger of what might be to come in the United States.

The c-section rate in private hospitals is 93 percent and somewhere between 30 and 50 percent in public hospitals which serve the country’s less wealthy population.  

Remember this April Fool’s Day post in 2008 on the Women’s Health News blog by (Our Bodies, Our Blog’s) Rachel Walden: Nation’s Largest Hospital to Ban Vaginal Birth, NY State Likely to Follow?  It’s not that far off base if you’re in Brazil.

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Reader Comments (5)

I just can't get over the fact that it seems so many people think all these women having major surgery is 'good', or 'safe'. How does this benefit the baby?

Something is very wrong.

January 25, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermichele

Well, there are people who would argue that it's a safer, more humane option for birth because a woman can be anesthetized during the process and her vagina won't get any skidmarks in the process. I don't know how the myth that childbirth always makes ones vagina permanently huge and floppy got started, but it's out there. Genetics and just having the weight of a baby resting on the pelvic floor are also factors, so c-sections don't render anyone immune.

Here's one woman's well-written description of c-section vs. vaginal birth-- http://tinyurl.com/sectionwoes

Regarding how it benefits the baby, I don't know. I'd have to let someone who sees a benefit in it argue that one.

I think something is very wrong with the view of birth. Not morally wrong, just "weird" wrong. I think the U.S. might be headed that way. Angry consumers can change the tide here, so we have work to do.

January 25, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill

Horrifying. Simply horrifying. You'd be surprised how many women don't have a clue though. I was recently interetested in some posts on the December 08 baby group on Ivillage.... the general tone of the board was "why not a c-section?! I want my baby SAFE!" As though c-sections are somehow safer than a vaginal birth. One woman even said "I already have stretch marks, so who cares about a little c-section scar?? What's the big deal?!"

It makes me speechless. Until women wise up, the rates are going to continue to climb.

January 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTheFeministBreeder

As a sheltered white girl, i learned a lot about culture south of the border when i began to teach English to hispanic women my age who were not legal citizens, but trapped here with their husbands without the ability to speak our language. They taught me that in South America, it seems women's sexuality is even more of a distorted issue than it is here in the US -- and our image of female sexuality is so sick...so strongly driven by hedonistic sex and not the whole beautiful picture of the woman's intellect, soul and needs. But in Brazil, it's very common for a woman to be extremely concerned about pleasing her sexual partner, and the men demand beautiful bodies, enhancing lingerie, and *very* unnaturally tight vaginas for their own pleasure (a woman's pleasure is rarely addressed, and of course she's a rare one if she gets to acheive orgasm at all). So women are terrified of "loosening up" and losing their men, and so would prefer a c-section in the hopes of preserving his loyalty to her. It's a sad issue destructive to an entire family.

September 22, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMommato5

There's some true on what Mommato5 said about brazilian culture, but there are a few things to add. Besides the fact that some women are really afraid of "loosening up", the biggest problem lies on the fact that our health delivery system is messed up. Doctors are underpaid and they found on c-sections an easy way to make money fast, without having to be available for hours following a labor. So, when a woman wants to have a vaginal delivery, they already have a list of lies and techniques to convince that woman that a vaginal birth is "unsafe". If she's overweight, they say she would not have enough strengh for labor and delivery and would have high BP, etc. If she's skinny, they say her pelvis would not be wide enough. Another "awesome" excuse is saying that the baby's cord is trapped around the neck and could "suffocate" him or her(wtf??). Anyway, the list of "arguments" is huge! It's ridiculous to see how many doctors take advantage on some brazilian's low level of education. Perfectly healthy women with perfectly healthy pregnancies are cowardly pushed into believing that their bodies are defective and not able to give birth as nature programmed them. So this new "c-section culture" just helps spreading more and more myths.
I am relieved I could deliver my baby in the USA, vaginally, as I always dreamed. But I am extremelly sad and bitter about this whole situation in my home country. I really wish women would start fighting against this stupid system and stop getting fooled by doctors that don't care about anything else but their own pockets.

September 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPriscila
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