Part 2: Choosing a City to Give Birth In + Housing and Logistics

What is the best and safest city to give birth in, in Brazil and what about housing and logistics?

Today I am going to continue the Giving Birth in Brazil Series and lay out what I believe to be the best birthing cities in Brazil as well as give you my advice on optimal housing and logistics for your pregnancy and delivery.

Brazil is a huge country with a lot of variety, and included in the variety is hospital quality, doctoral care (which I will cover in more detail in the next post), and accessibility for a pregnant woman.

And by accessibility, I’m referring to how easy it is to get to and from the hospital and how what will allow you to be able to live as worry free as possible being pregnant.

So what is the best combination of city + housing + logistics to facilitate your pregnancy and delivery?

Best Birthing Cities

When we researched cities to give birth in, there was 1 thing that was top priority for us: that we could be 100% sure that the delivery would happen naturally.

In Brazil, roughly 90% of pregnancies in the private sector end in a c-section.

I’m not going to turn this into any type of debate, but I’m against any surgical intervention unless it’s an emergency, and specifically against misleading doctors.

This sounds a bit scary considering that in most developed countries, the cesarean section rate is below 33%.

The reason that it’s so high in Brazil is partially due to the fact that it is culturally believed that a c-section is a sign of status, as the “women parts” stay unaffected through delivery.

Another reason is that the doctors push for c-sections as they can just write it into their calendar and make quick money, instead of having to wait around for hours during the labor process.

I’ve heard countless stories of doctors promising patients that they would deliver naturally just to pressure them in the heat of the labor with a lame excuse to force a c-section on them (probably so that the doctor could make is golf game).

What’s all this have to do with the best birthing cities?

Quite simply, you want to choose a city where you are 100% sure that the doctor and hospital will let you decide how you want to deliver the child.

There are private and public hospitals, the former pushing for c-sections and latter more for natural births.  The main drawback being the quality in the public sector, I wouldn’t give birth at a public hospital unless I had to (more on that later).

I will go over more specifically about doctors/hospitals in the next post, but let’s take a look at the top 3 cities with a good reputation within the private hospital sector.

  1. Florianópolis, Santa Catarina
  2. São Paulo, São Paulo
  3. Rio de Janeiro, Rio de janeiro

Why the above cities?  Because these are the cities where I know without a doubt that you can give birth the way YOU want to and not be forced into a c-section against your will.

Florianópolis is at the top of the list because I’m a bit biased, this is where we gave birth after a couple years of researching and this is pretty much the city that is spearheading the national movement for natural births – even in the public sector!  It is also a great city to live in for pregnant women, really comfortable.

São Paulo is number 2 for me because it’s a huge city with huge options, you can find anything you want birthing, hospital and logistic wise.  I put it as number 2 because it’s a very expensive place to give birth and a very crowded and chaotic place for an expectant mother.

Rio de Janeiro is number 3 because it is another large city with plenty of options birthing wise.  It will be an expensive place to give birth and quite crowded (depending on where you live).

You could obviously find good birthing options in other cities but I only know of a few examples of private hospitals and clinics offering natural births.  So if you were to go with another city, then it should be because you were referred to a hospital or doctor by someone who has delivered (don’t take anyone’s word for it unless the either have had a natural birth there or know someone who did!).

Optimal Housing in Brazil for Giving Birth

If you don’t currently have a place of residence in Brazil or have a temporary one and are willing to move, then it’s a great idea to give your housing situation a thought.

Why? Because if you live in a city or part of a city where birthing options are not too good or where you are too far from the birthing hospital or home birth clinic, then you are in trouble in the hour of delivery.

Another part to consider is the type of housing.  If you are considering a home birth, you will need to make sure that your housing arrangements allow for that.

What location and housing will make you feel the most comfortable before, during and after birth?

So the idea is that you find a candidate city, figure out what hospitals and doctors are offered there (which I cover in the next post) and figure out what housing accommodates that, plus the logistical side of things.

Now that we are on that topic, let’s talk about logistics.

Logistics to Look for In a Potential Birthing City

When I refer to logistics, I am talking about the detailed planning and organization of your childbirth.

This goes beyond your housing, doctors and hospitals and into other aspects of the pregnancy and childbirth you will need to take into consideration.

The first is that during the pregnancy and through the delivery, the expecting mother has special needs that the area you are in should be able to provide for.

Here’s some questions to set you in the right direction:

  • Is there a pharmacy nearby?
  • Are the sidewalks walkable?
  • Is it safe?
  • Is there a group of supportive people around?
  • How about transportation during delivery?
  • Is it serviced by buses, do you have a car?
  • Are there any baby supply stores around?
  • Is it close enough to a Policia Federal office for when you need to makes several trips regarding visas, the baby’s passport etc?
  • How’s the internet and TV for when the mother needs to relax?
  • What about the noise level, it is a calm or rowdy area?
  • Can you be easily reached physically in case of emergency?
  • How about the weather and comfort during pregnancy/birth?
  • Can you get around with a stroller?
  • Are there things to do and other expecting mothers to connect with?

Hopefully the above will get you thinking along the right lines as they are some of the questions we had to ask before choosing an area to give birth in and ones we realized that we should have thought of before.

Final Words

My hope is that this post gives you a good overview over what city, housing and logistics you need to consider when choosing a place to give birth.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to feel 100% comfortable about your decision – yeah, there are many scary elements about taking this type of leap of faith but it will really be beneficial in the end if you take your time to choose the place that is right for you.

Look forward to the next post, where I cover everything you will need to know about hospitals, doctors + birthing costs.  After reading the next post, I’m sure that you will feel pretty comfortable about making a great decision about a city to give birth in – or at least be pointed in the right direction.

If this was helpful, please share it with others :)

And like always, if you have insight or questions, feel free to write them below!

Valeu – cheers,
Kevin

Posts from the Giving Birth in Brazil series:

    • http://www.liveinbrazil.org Kevin

      My pleasure Marina! :)

      I’m beginning to work on the next post right now and should be up on the 9th. Thanks.