The amount of Caesarean sections is at dangerous high in Brazil. According to the World Health Organization, Caesarean sections should make up no more than 10-15% of total births. In the case of Brazil, C-sections account for more than half of births in total. More specifically, 85% of births in private hospitals and 45% in public hospitals consist of C-sections. With numbers this high, Health Minister Aruthur Chioro called it an “epidemic” as the government puts forth measures to help curb this dangerous trend.
The regulations put forth by the Brazilian government are set this week and aim to encourage women to choose traditional birth over C-sections. Doctors are now forced to inform women about the potential risk factors of the Caesarean section. Patients must also sign a waiver before the doctor is permitted to perform the operation. If a C-section is performed, a doctor must then fill out a comprehensive record describing the birth and why it was necessary to perform the surgery.
The Director of the National Health Agency, Jose Carlos de Souza Abrahao justified the governmental regulations stating, “By informing her of the risks that could come with an unnecessary surgical procedure, she will be more sure in her decision regarding the delivery, choosing what’s best for her health and for her baby’s health”. Clearly, officials feel as though women in the past weren’t given sufficient information to make an informed decision on their own. It is hoped that these new regulations encourage women to think critically about their decision.
However, it is has been reported in Brazil that mothers who intended and requested to give natural birth were unable to due to the lack of proper beds. A majority of these cases took place in a private hospital and the beds were unavailable due to reservations made for scheduled deliveries. This issue has led experts to declare C-sections as a safer alternative to natural births in Brazil based on the shortage of beds necessary for live births. With reports of doctors encouraging women to have a C-section to avoid pain of natural birth, it seems as though curbing this epidemic may be a difficult undertaking.