While it might seem odd, women in Brazil apparently don't have much of a choice when it comes to giving birth, as doctors there prefer to just handout C-sections. The country is currently wrestling with a childbirth culture that has long relied
on such interventionist procedures, and more than half of all
babies born in Brazil are delivered via cesarean.
Experts in Brazil have long held that vaginal births
made childbirth more stressful and dangerous than necessary, although the World Health Organization claims otherwise. Such attitudes have led local physicians to view childbirth as more of a medical problem rather than a natural process. One source claims that local hospitals
often don't offer women much of a choice as they rather get the whole
thing over with:
Here, when a woman is going to give birth, even natural birth, the first thing many hospitals do is tie her to the bed by putting an IV in her arm, so she can't walk, can't take a bath, can't hug her husband. The use of drugs to accelerate contractions is very common, as are episiotomies. What you get is a lot of pain, and a horror of childbirth. This makes a cesarean a dream for many women.
Due to this, an entire industry of private clinics catering specifically to women hoping for natural births have cropped up. The clinics offer five-star, luxury accommodations, including spa treatments, manicures, and themed rooms, making natural childbirth somewhat of a luxury.
Another big reason cesareans are so popular is that natural childbirth
can last an entire day, whereas a cesarean takes from 30-40 minutes. So
natural childbirth may simply not be an economically viable option.
Back in July, Brazilian women organized 13 marches all over the country. Women bared their breasts and carried
posters that read "Our Children, Our Decision," during protests in Sao Paulo. Their main objective was to overturn a medical regulating agency in Rio de Janeiro
which forbids doctors from performing home births and labor coaches known
as "doulas" from helping in hospital wards. These efforts helped secure
a court order for the regulating agency's initial resolution to be
reversed on July 30.
Brazil's federal government is also trying to reverse the C-section trend with a $1.3 billion healthcare investment over the last year and half, along with another $3.36 billion for a program called "The Stork Network," which is aimed at humanizing birth and educating the public about the benefits of natural childbirth. The goal is to give women more control over childbirth so that the process isn't reduced to a strictly surgical procedure that may not really be necessary after all.