Bang for the Buck

Bang for the Buck

Brazil is the Caesarean capital of the world, with 37 infants removed surgically from the womb for every thousand births. And among regions, Latin America's rates lead all the rest. High Caesarean rates, though, reflect the dark side of private health care. Caesareans are more complicated, dangerous and expensive than conventional childbirth. Most are voluntary, chosen for convenience, social status, vanity for figure-conscious mothers and higher pay for income-conscious physicians. Moreover, even taking high-risk pregnancies into account, three babies die after Caesareans for every two who die after a conventional birth. Yet in private healthcare systems, caesareans are readily available.

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