In Brazil, where natural childbirth fell out of favor years ago, more than half of all babies are born via cesarean section, a figure that rises to 82 percent for women with private health insurance.
But that trend may be turning around in a country with one of the highest cesarean rates in the world.
From the day Mariana Migon discovered she was pregnant, she knew she wanted a natural birth. So just weeks before her due date, the first-time mother abandoned her obstetrician, her health plan and her private hospital room for the free public hospital in downtown Rio — where she had a real chance at a vaginal birth.
“If I’d stayed with my health care plan and my doctor, I would have had a C-section,” said Migon, as she sat beside the incubator holding her baby girl, who was premature.