Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Natural Birth in Mexico

According to my lamaze teachers/doulas, caesarean sections account for nearly 85-90% of all hospital births here in Mexico City. Now, of the 85-90%, I don't know what the breakdown is for elective vs. necessary c-sections, but it's pretty apparent that women in the DF are having c-sections more than they should. To the point that there are coined words in the natural birthing community: cesariaólogo -- a doctor who prefers c-sections -- and innecesaria, in reference to the inordinate amount of c-sections that are performed without real medical need.

In a country where obstetricians still attend labor from start to finish, natural birth can be a slow and not so financially rewarding procedure. From a cesariaólogo's point of view, it's not hard to see why c-sections are preferable: it takes 20 minutes and you don't lose sleep like you would attending a 20+ hour labor, you get paid more by insurance, and you're still be able to attend your other patients in the clinic. Actually, I've quickly learned that a tell-tale sign that your OB/GYN leans towards c-sections is that they always keep their appointments versus the natural birth doctors who are always having to cancel you to attend a labor.

Much before I got pregnant and not realizing the kind of politics that go into having a baby here in Mexico, I blindly chose an OB/GYN through my insurance network. It seemed to work out great because my doctor was only a block away, she spoke English, and she guided us through some fertility issues we were having. But, once I got pregnant, I had an idea of what kind of labor and delivery I wanted: a natural one and probably one that included delivering in water. She seemed taken aback by the ideas I had in my head, and I quickly discerned that she was one of those: a cesariaólogo.

Stunned by her reaction, I decided to search out a new doctor. Who knew that you had to fight so hard to do something your body was designed to do?? I realized that in a country where c-section is the norm, if you want and/or can have a vaginal birth (epidural or not), it is essential to find a doctor who respects that decision. Otherwise, you might get find yourself in the heat of the moment, succumbing to a doctor's advice that a c-section is necessary "for the health of you and the baby."

I feel like such a rebel for seeking out a doctor who regards natural birth so highly, but it's just the unfortunate rate of c-section here that has me running to the other side like some kind of radical. Which I'm not. I just wanted a doctor who respects my body and what it can do.


  1. Thank you for posting this. I am not pregnant and I do not know what the future holds for me, but I do know that if I give birth in Mexico, I want it to be natural. Do you know how I would find someone for that (I'll be in Pachuca, not DF)? I am completely clueless about this stuff and I would hate to be surprised.

  2. Glad you advocated for yourself! I'm also shocked at the c-section rate here.

  3. Greengagirl -- I had to do quite a bit of research on the internet, and I also talked with other women who had natural births both here in the DF and in other states. I'll try to do another post this week on the resources I found. If you get pregnant in Mexico, you can seek those out and most likely, someone will know of doctors in pachuca. It's such a small community of "rebels" and they all tend to know eachother.

  4. Thank you for posting this. My husband and I have recently moved to Mexico City and we are expecting our first baby in December. If you do have a minute to post additional resources, it would be really helpful. I would love to know some of the names of natural birth friendly doctors you came across so that I could compare them to my husband's insurance list. Thanks!