In Brazil, a Caesarean section is not just a medical procedure – it’s a party.
The South American country has one of the highest C-section surgery rates in the world, at 55 percent of all births compared to 32 percent of births in the U.S. as of 2017, with many of those surgeries in Brazil being elective procedures.
To prepare for the C-sections, which have long been associated with the country’s elite, expectant mothers have now started hiring party planners, make-up artists, hair stylists and caterers to host the planned births. Certain hospitals even have viewing areas for family and friends to celebrate while the birth happens.
"It's cultural," said Marcia da Costa, the Sao Luiz private hospital director told The Washington Post. "Brazilians want to plan for everything. They don't want to hit traffic on the way to the hospital. They want to get their nails done, get a wax, to plan it like an event."
Paula Ascar Baracat, co-founder of party-planning service, Estudio Matre, specializing in maternity events, told the Washington Post that clients can spend $10,000 for flowers, guest books, and personalized gifts for C-section parties – preparing for a C-section the way people prepare for a wedding.
Mothers in Brazil have been opting to schedule their child’s birth rather than wait for it to occur naturally so much that the Health Ministry was forced to step in to try and quell the “epidemic,” the Post reported.
The government issued a ban for elective C-section surgeries before 39 weeks.
"We saw that we had to reevaluate these percentages and make sure that birth decisions were being geared toward the health of the mother and the child, and not for convenience," Rodrigo Aguiar a director at Brazil's National Supplementary Health Agency, said to the Washington Post.
Only about 10 – 15 percent of births require a C-section according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO has warned against unnecessary C-sections as they are nearly twice as deadly for mothers and have been linked to respiratory distress and high blood pressure in babies.
Since 2000, C-section births have nearly doubled, according to a study published in 2018.