In Brazil, elective caesarean sections are a lot more common than they are in the United States.
They've "long been a status symbol among Brazil’s elite, a way for some of the country’s wealthier women to avoid the unpredictability of natural childbirth," writes The Washington Post in a story published earlier this week.
It's true: Natural childbirth can certainly be unpredictable. It's hard to count on the timing, plan some of the logistics or anticipate how exactly the big day will unfold.
So perhaps that's why some new mothers and families are scheduling their babies' births -- and not only that, but planning some pretty epic parties to accompany the C-sections.
“It’s a special occasion,” Maria Casmalla said to the Post. “Don’t we get dressed up for parties and special dates? It’s the same thing.”
The article sets the scene for us, describing women in white gloves laying out chocolates and cakes on silver platters and filling crystal vases with roses. The mother is known to get pretty dolled up for the surgery, too.
Here are some other things we learned from the Post's report:
- We're not talking about small parties. Some of these events are similar to a wedding, complete with party planners, makeup artists and caterers.
- Loved ones will often watch the birth unfold, from a place designed for that purpose.
- Brazil has one of the highest C-section rates in the world. They account for 55.5% of all deliveries in that country and 84% in private hospitals, according to Public Health Ministry data sourced by the Post.
- Just for reference, in the U.S., the rate for all hospitals is 32.9%, the Post said.
In case you're thinking this can't get any more bizarre, considering the party planning, read this excerpt:
"At the Sao Luiz private hospital in Sao Paulo, a mother-to-be can get her hair and makeup done in her hospital room. For 2,000 reais per day — about $500 — her family can rent out the presidential suite, with a living room and bathroom for guests, a balcony and minibar. Mothers can request their favorite flowers and magazines, and even change the furniture if it clashes with their planned decorations. A 22-story maternity ward now under construction will include a wine cellar and ballroom."
A wine cellar and a ballroom? That's quite different from the hospital scene we're used to in the U.S.
We should point out that, as the Post writes, there are cultural differences at play.
One hospital director said Brazilians like to plan everything, so considering that information, it makes sense that they'd want to plan a birth down to the T.
After all, there's no denying that welcoming a new baby into the family is a pretty major life event. Messy, and we're not sure we'd want our extended families witnessing it, but it's a big deal nonetheless.
You can read more, if you'd like to learn about why elective C-sections might not be a good thing, according to health officials, how the costs differ between C-sections and vaginal deliveries, how many people are estimated to actually require a C-section and more.
The report does a good job breaking down the other side of the coin, as well: discussing why mothers in Brazil might trend toward having a C-section, the differences in medical care and facilities, and the list goes on.
Now we'll ask: Would you want your family there, if you or your partner were to have a C-section? We don't just mean in any old waiting room or standing by, one phone call away. Would you want them at a C-section party being held in your family's honor? Let us know in the comments below.
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