Pregnancy in Brazil

newborn baby
Updated 2022-03-28 15:12

If you're planning on having a child in Brazil, then you should be prepared for how the healthcare system works, as well as what you can expect for maternity leave.

You can give birth to your baby in either a public or private facility. If you choose a public facility, all care is free. However, like with other public healthcare services, it can be overcrowded and have poor conditions, so if you can, go with a private facility for a better experience.

Natural birth vs C-Sections

When it comes to C-sections, Brazil is one of the top nations with the highest rates. Over 50% of births are C-sections, so if you want to have a natural birth, you'd be in the minority. Of course, you're allowed to give birth however you want; just make sure you let your doctor know when discussing your pregnancy, as they'll just assume you want a C-section.

Do note that some doctors may be pushy about C-sections. Considering this is your life and your baby, don't let yourself be forced into a C-section if you're not comfortable with it. Instead, try and find an obstetrician that'll assist you with natural birth and that they're someone you can trust.


C-sections are quite an ordeal in Brazil. If you go to a private facility for your child's birth, you may be pampered with delicious buffet meals and even makeovers (including makeup and hair) before you go into surgery. In addition, there are luxurious suites you can stay in before and after your surgery. Some also offer a viewing gallery where your loved ones can stand behind it and watch you in surgery.

As to be expected, C-sections will be more expensive, not just because of the pampering, but because of the surgery itself.

Natural births

More and more women are opting for natural births, although they're still in the minority. Even if you choose a private facility, it can be difficult to find a spot when you go into labor, as all the beds are likely scheduled for C-sections already. So there are some options besides giving birth in a hospital.

For example, you can have a water birth, although it'll be tough to find a doctor who can assist, as this is still very uncommon. If you'd like a water birth, try hospitals in São Paulo, as they have the best medical facilities in the nation.

You can also opt for a home birth, but again, it's hard to find doctors willing to assist. And if you do find some, they may not be very experienced in home births.

Documents to bring to the hospital

You need to be able to prove your identity, as well as your partner if they go with you. You can use your carteira de identidade (Brazilian identity card). If you're married, you'll need to show your marriage certificate.

You'll also need to provide your insurance details, such as the policy number.

Maternity leave

By law, you're allowed 120 days of paid maternity leave. This amount is paid out to you by your employer, and in turn, they're reimbursed by the National Social Security.

If your employer is generous, they can give you an additional 60 days of paid maternity leave. They can receive tax benefits from doing do.

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