Data shows that an average of 56 percent of babies are delivered by Caesarean section in Brazil, which is more than any other country in the world. The figure has soared to almost 85 percent in private clinics. These figures are well above the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of 15 percent.
Brazil's health ministry has warned that C-section increases the risk of respiratory difficulties for the baby by 120 percent and also triples the risk of the mother dying. Health Minister Arthur Chioro said, "The epidemic of Caesarean births in the country is unacceptable and it must be treated as a public health problem."
Whether from a fear of pain of natural labor, or the belief that a vaginal birth will negatively impact her sex life, or based on the recommendation of doctors perhaps looking to charge higher fees associated with the surgery; more and more Brazilian women are foregoing labor altogether in favor of scheduled C-sections. Aiming to reverse this trend, the government this week launched an initiative tightening controls on doctors and seeking to dissuade expectant mothers from having a C-section unless deemed medically necessary.
Andre Longo, chairman of Brazil's national complementary health agency said, "Furthermore, in order to receive his fees, a doctor will have to fill in a form with all the data on the woman from the time she starts having contractions. That would require doctors to wait for contractions to begin before undertaking a Caesarean."