Brazil launches campaign targeting C-section ‘epidemic’

New regulations aimed at curbing the amount of Cesarean sections preformed in Brazil took effect Monday, with the country’s health officials hoping that sharing more information with expectant mothers will help sway the statistics.

About 84 percent of Brazilian mothers on private health care insurance elect to have a C-section birth, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP), with the reason often being for the convenience of choosing the birth date. In public hospitals it’s about 40 percent, compared to the United States’ 32 percent. Brazilian Health Minister Arthur Chioro called it an “epidemic.”

The country’s health officials launched the campaign “Childbirth is normal!” as well as new rules that will require doctors and hospital to share information with their patients, including the number of C-sections they have already carried out. A failure to do so may result in an $8,000 fine for health insurance companies, AFP reported.

“Childbirth is one of the most important moments in the life of a woman and her family,” Jose Carlos de Souza Abrahao, director of ANS, a specialized health ministry agency, told AFP.

“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,” he said.

Pediatrician Luciana Herraro told AFP that often times it is encouragement from hospitals and doctors that may lead a patient to elect a C-section delivery, and that it’s led to “international shame.”

Rosana Clein, 37, told AFP that she wanted to have her son naturally but couldn’t find a doctor who was supportive.

“I tried to find a doctor who was supposed to do a natural birth like this, but in Brazil it’s not so easy. They try to convince you the best way is to do a Cesarean. They say you’re going to have a lot of pain the natural way,” she told AFP. She eventually delivered her son via C-section.

Herrero told AFP that it will have to be a collective effort to reverse the birth patterns in Brazil.