BRAZIL: Do deceptive medical birth procedures de-humanize women?

OB/GYN nurse scrubs down getting ready for the hospital delivery procedure, São Paulo, Brazil
An OB/GYN nurse scrubs down getting ready for the hospital delivery procedure, São Paulo, Brazil. Image: André François

Is there a solution to the problems?

Why do some medical teams mistreat patients in labor? Professional studies indicate that trivialization of social injustice, especially injustice against women, may be the cause. This can affect the entire society in Brazil, both male and female.

Senior Student of Medicine Elder Lanzani Freitas, at the University of São Paulo Medical School, has seen the ‘better side’ of Brazil’s medical system. He says he has never witnessed any abuse cases at the Hospital das Clínicas where he is currently working. “…labor can take hours, around 8 to 10 hours,” says Lanzani. “In this period there is the opportunity for the health team to talk and bond with the patients. I particularly like to talk about issues that are beyond the technical questions,” said Freitas.

Finding and supporting a good team of health professionals who will seek better quality health care for Brazil is the goal of photojournalist André François, but he is a realist. After all, “you never have the perfect reality, the perfect situation for you to work with health in Brazil,” says François.

Since 2000 the Brazilian program called ‘Working with Traditional Midwives’ (Trabalhando com Parteiras Tradicionais) has aimed to improve care for women with birth delivery at home. They also seek to raise awareness among health professionals to recognize midwives as important partners in the birth process for women.

As the definition of violence against women during childbirth can be wide and subject to many interpretations, so can the concept in the ‘humanization’ of childbirth. Numerous advocates who believe that babies who are born through a philosophy of  ‘woman-centered childbirth’ are also beginning to see how  natural and appropriate approaches to new technology with birthing can work together. The hope by many women’s advocates in Brazil is to see the rates of abuse during childbirth labor decrease sharply.

The Health and Culture Project created by the ImageMagica organization has traveled to hospitals all over Brazil since 2006. It  includes photography workshops and photo-documentaries lead by photojournalist André François, the project´s creator. The project has shown the success of new health programs and intiatives along with continued needs that exist inside the national system of health care in Brazil.


While Cesarian rates in the U.S. are lower than similar surgical procedures found in Brazil, rates for Cesarian have been rising dramatically in the U.S. Dr. Eugene Declercq, PhD, is a professor in the Maternal and Child Health Department at the Boston University School of Public Health and Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Boston University School of Medicine. He explains what is really behind the rising international C-section rate in terms that can be applied to Brazil. It is not about age, better outcomes or multiple births. Learn the truth. This 5:21 min September 2011 video is a production of Mothers Naturally, a public education program sponsored by the Midwives Alliance of North America via


For more information on this topic:


Additional sources for this WNN story include the CDC, World Health Organization, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, MAMASOL, Brazil National Health Agency (ANS), Unified Health System Brazil (SUS), University of São Paulo Medical School, United Nations MDG Monitor, Blackwell Publishing, Mayo Clinic and Mothers Naturally.


Freelance journalist Yohana de Andrade is a WNN correspondent based in Brazil who is passionate about women issues as she stays focused on social justice and inequality. Yohana received a scholarship to study globalization with experience as a radio journalist at Voice of America – Africa division in Washington, D.C. With a degree in Journalism, Andrade is a content producer for internet and new technologies. She also writes about feminism and poverty for her personal blog where she connects with fellow Brazilians and internationals worldwide.


©2011/2012 WNN – Women News Network
No part of this article release may be reproduced without prior permissions from WNN.


Pages: 1 2