Our blog readers have been very interested in the subject of cesarean vs. natural births, and today we want your opinion about a phenomenon that recently made a splash of press coverage in the United States. “LUXURY BIRTHING CLINICS SPUR CESAREAN ‘EPIDEMIC’ IN BRAZIL” was the headline.
Most of the article describes an upscale private birthing clinic in Rio de Janeiro, where women “reserve their spot upon learning of their pregnancies, booking their cesareans months in advance”. The article continues “…new mothers at some high-end clinics enjoying beauty treatments after the operation in a culture that has come to regard births as glamorous social events — equal parts spa, cocktail party and family get-together…”
The report notes that massages, pedicures, and makeovers are part of the standard package. There are “uniformed bellhops pushing luggage-laden roller carts and a cafe serving flutes of Champagne…”, and that mothers can opt to pay extra for deluxe suites with personalized decorations, and can even rent a private room with a giant flat screen TV that fits up to 14 guests to watch the birth as it happens nearby.
The article implies that all the women at the center deliver by cesarean section, and that in Brazil, over 80% of births done privately are cesareans. For comparison, in Sweden the rate of cesarean is 17%, in France the rate is 20%, and in the USA, 33%. Still, public health officials (including in Brazil) warn that too many cesareans are being done worldwide, especially in countries such as Brazil and China, which have the highest cesarean rates in the world. The World Health organization recommends that a cesarean rate above 15% of births demonstrates that there is a problem in the country’s birth system.
While a cesarean birth gives big advantages to both the mother and the doctor as far as scheduling their work and lives, cesarean sections subject both the mother and the baby to increased risk, not only at time of birth, but also in the long term. While a vaginal delivery may be more stressful in the short term, the very stress of the baby going through the birth canal seems to make his lungs stronger, and even gives the baby some genetic benefits.
This is a very controversial topic, and we are interested in what our readers think. Take a minute and answer our poll that you can find in the right column of the blog (on the computer version), or at the bottom of the page (if you are reading the blog on a mobile device).
Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)