Part 3: Finding a Doctor and a Hospital to Give Birth

The absolutely most important part of your pregnancy and birth in Brazil, is to make sure that you have a great Doctor or midwife that you can trust.

And along with that comes the hospital you choose.  So how do you find a great doctor and hospital?

Today I am going to tell you how.

This part 3 of the Giving Birth in Brazil Series – make sure to check out the main page to catch up on earlier posts.

Time and time again, I’ve heard stories of people who think they found a great doctor to later discover that he is out to serve his own best interests.

Our experience was wonderful and I owe that to the advice I’m about to give you.


Choosing a Doctor or Midwife to Give Birth

Where to look and how to find a credible and affordable doctor is always the most challenging of the whole birthing process, especially when you are in a foreign country.

So here is what I personally did and recommend you do to find a great doctor or midwife.

Note: this is all based on private doctors/midwives – I don’t recommend going public with your birth.

1. Use your network to ask around



This is a pretty obvious one.  Basically, if you have any network already within Brazil, then ask around within your network to find out if anyone recommends a doctor or midwife.

Only take recommendations from people who have actually given birth with the Doctor or midwife.

You have probably noticed, but people are known to talk a lot in Brazil just to be agreeable.  They may know someone who knew someone who used Dr. so and so…but make sure that it is someone who used the actual Dr. or midwife.

2. Use the Internet to find one



This is the option I chose with success and found a wonderful home birthing clinic in the south of Brazil.

The reason we chose a home birthing clinic is due to the fact that it is a much more pleasant and comfortable delivery (and safe) and we could rest assured that we wouldn’t be another one of the c-section stories in Brazil (read this post to see what I’m talking about)

Basically, if you speak Portuguese or can find your way around Google Translate (though some are in English), then here is a small list of resources to assure that you will find a Doctor or midwife concerned with doing things naturally, so that you don’t end up being taken advantage of:

  • Natural birth group that can give orientation
  • National group for natural births
  • Birth friends for natural births
  • Midwives:

Note: if you know that you will need a c-section or are considering one, then these are still great doctors.

Through the above websites, you can get help to find a great and credible solution for a Doctor or Midwife.

Like I mentioned before (and like I will write about in a post for itself), we used a group of midwives without doctor, which brought the costs waaay down and was much more pleasant than any of our prior births in hospitals.

The group we used is located in Florianópolis, SC and were amazing– I will write about our experience with them start to finish in a post at the end of this series.

3. Meeting the Doctor or Midwife



When meeting with a Doctor, there are a few very important things you need to ask:

  1. What percentage of c-sections to natural births does he/she do?
  2. What team of nurses does he use during the hospital delivery?
  3. What is the total cost? (Including the nurse team)
  4. Does he/she speak good English?
  5. Does the team of nurses speak English? (Don’t just take his/her word for it, ask to talk with one on the phone or meet one before making your decision)
  6. Is he/she willing to go all the way natural, even if the birth takes a long time? (The idea is to make sure that he/she doesn’t pressure you into a last minute c-section due to impatience…)
  7. How will everything happen from start to finish?

Hopefully you have a few more questions than above, but that should get you started.

If you are dealing with a midwife for your delivery, then you can pretty much leave out any questions with c-sections – they are not allowed to do c-sections.

As a little note, during the delivery the Doctor will have a team of nurses to assist him, so make sure you factor that into your questions.

4. Getting References

If you will remember one thing, it’s this: never take a Doctor’s word for it, unless he/she has earned that right!

I say this because you can avoid a lot of pain and suffering when thinking like this.

The common scenario: a lady meets with a Doctor as she wants to make sure that he does what’s right during the birth.  In the hour of delivery, the baby doesn’t come out within a few hours so the Doctor makes up something about “there being complications” and does an emergency c-section.

The poor lady who wanted a natural and normal birth, has just been taken advantage of by a greedy Doctor who is out for his own benefit.

I can’t emphasize this enough, make sure that you get credible references from the doctor.  Meet with the references, ask them about the doctor and delivery.

If the Doctor has been referred to you by a friend, drill the friend with questions and get references from the Doctor!

Got it?

When dealing with a home birthing clinic, this wont be too necessary as they whole idea about giving birth at home is for the parents’ benefit.  Though it’s still a great idea to meet with them and ask your questions.

Finding a Great Hospital to Give Birth in (or Not)

The quality of hospitals ranges from rundown to 5 star luxury – or you can do like we did and just give birth at home.

Obviously if you have any type of Brazilian health insurance, the hospital will need to be one from your provider network.  But otherwise, how do you find a good one?

If you decide to do a home birth like we did, then all of the below is irrelevant (and it’s a huge relief).

But of course if you prefer a hospital, you still need to know how to find one.

1. Ask the Doctor or Midwife

Once you have found a good and reputable Doctor or midwife, just ask him/her what they recommend!

Keep in mind that like hospitals, Doctors range in prestige and price as well.  So if your doctor is pricey to start with (let’s say R$7,000 for the birth) then he will recommend a pricey hospital too.

Usually the Doctor or midwife will only work with specific hospitals as they know their way around those places.

2. Look around

Like the example above when finding a Doctor, the same is true when finding a hospital.

You can check with your Brazilian insurance provider (if you have one) to get a list of covered hospitals and then begin researching them and visiting them.

You can also do a search on the internet (in Portuguese) to research what hospitals are available in the area you are shooting for.

Here is a couple of hospitals I recommend to get your started:

  1.  (This is the absolute best hospital in Brazil – compared to a 5 star hotel.)
  2.  (been there, great facilities)

There are many more then above, but at least it can get the wheels turning.

 3. Contacting the hospital

Once you have found a candidate hospital, it’s time to contact them.

There are a couple of options, you can initially send an email to them asking a few major questions to get an idea of things there, or you can call and arrange a meeting.

Once you arrive at the hospital, a nurse will usually show you around.

Here are a few questions to get you started:

  1. What birthing setups do you offer? (They usually offer several different birthing setups for different prices, which determines how comfortable you are after birth)
  2. What newborn facilities do you have?
  3. Do they have new technology?
  4. What is the procedure during and after birth, how do we get admitted transferred etc?
  5. What about food, do you offer meals?
  6. What post birth services do you offer?
  7. How are visitors taken care of?
  8. What about parking, ambulances etc?
  9. What room facilities do you have?
  10. What if I would like to walk a bit around after birth, is there a type of carriage?

That should get the wheels turning.

Make sure and ask as much as you can, and if they don’t speak English (and you don’t speak Portuguese) then arrange for someone to translate for you.

Final Words

I hope that this was helpful in getting you closer to finding a Doctor/midwife and hospital.

I was originally going to write about the costs of giving birth plus insurance in this post, but it would make it way too lengthy, so that will be covered in the next part.

If you have any questions, comments – please feel free to ask below or contact me.

Share if this was helpful!

Valeu – Cheers,

Kevin

Posts from the Giving Birth in Brazil series:

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  • Turner Payne

    Hello, thank you for this series, I am from the US, my fiancée is Peruvian and we are having a baby in Rio. Perhaps I need to keep reading, but you have mentioned twice to not go the public health route, can you elaborate as to why not? We are both students, and even though Ale can work legally, we just don’t have the income for a private doctor. So far we have both been pleasantly surprised at the public health experience, despite the warnings from our Brazilian friends (and longish wait times), so I’m curious for your advice. Many thanks!! -Turner

  • Dan Bond

    Hey, great information on your site thanks. I just wanted to add that I know of a Gynecologist / Obstetrician based in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro who is really nice and speaks fluent English, as well as Portuguese and some Spanish. Her name is Doctor Luisa Czeresnia and she has an English website as well Hope this information is useful to someone in the future! :)