C-Section Watch Parties Are Apparently a Thing -- Because Gender Reveals Aren't Enough

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Mom and baby after C-section
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If you thought gender reveal parties were getting out of hand, you might want to have a seat. Because apparently, a whole new birthing trend in town is sweeping Brazil that makes even the most over-to-top gender reveals look pretty tame. According to a report by The Washington Post, C-section "watch parties" are all the rage down in Rio de Janeiro among the super wealthy. (And yes, they are exactly what they sound like.)

  • News of the emerging trend first began to trickle out last summer. The parties are elaborate gatherings sometimes costing up to $10,000.

    In Brazil, where elective C-sections have become something of a "status symbol" among the wealthy, family and friends come together to literally watch them take place -- from a viewing gallery behind a glass partition.

    Expecting mamas even get dressed up for the occasion, and decorate the viewing room, the Post reports, describing the C-section of Mariana Casmalla, who was "buffed, primped, and polished" herself in preparation for her birth. 

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  • The trend has sparked something of a budding industry, in which photographers, florists, and even caterers are brought in to make the day special.

    At Casmalla's party, a "white-gloved woman" was said to have carefully laid out chocolates and cakes on silver trays for her guests, before filling crystal vases with long-stemmed roses to complete the ambiance.

    At private hospitals like Sao Luiz Hospital in Sao Paulo, the first-class treatment goes even further, the Post reports:

    "A mother-to-be can get her hair and makeup done in her hospital room. For 2,000 reais per day -- about $500 -- her family can rent out the presidential suite, with a living room and bathroom for guests, a balcony and minibar. Mothers can request their favorite flowers and magazines, and even change the furniture if it clashes with their planned decorations. A 22-story maternity ward now under construction will include a wine cellar and ballroom."

    Um ... wow.

    There can be guest books for leaving messages. Sometimes, the excited new parents even hand out personalized favors. In other words, it's like a second (mini) wedding of sorts.

  • If C-section parties seem too far-fetched to catch on in the US, you might not want to dismiss them so soon.

    After all, if someone would have told you 10 years ago that gender reveal parties would soon become the norm, you might not have believed them. But now, they're a definite cottage industry. Want to announce your baby's gender by hitting a golf ball that will explode into a cloud of pink or blue? Right this way. Or maybe you'd rather entertain your guests by letting them take a whack at a gender reveal piñata to announce the news. That exists, too.

    Elective C-sections have been on the rise in the US, too. In fact, they've been increasing globally for the last few decades -- something that the medical community is somewhat divided over.

    According to the World Health Organization, it's estimated that only about 10-15% of births should require a C-section due to complications that make vaginal births too risky. Yet here in the US, the current C-section rate sits at about 32%. Since 1990, that number has more than tripled.

    Still, in countries like Brazil, the numbers are even higher: 80-90% of births in the country that take place in private clinics are now C-sections, compared to 30-40% of births in public hospitals, NPR reports.

  • Some of the alarm over the rising rates really has to do with the risks associated with a C-section. And not just for baby, but for mom, too.

    According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, studies have shown that elective C-sections are linked to a higher rate of complications related to prematurity -- including respiratory issues for babies, neonatal "adaptation problems" such as hypothermia and hypoglycemia, and an increased rate of NICU admissions for infants delivered before 39 weeks. 

    As with any major surgery, a C-section comes along with the risk of infection, injury to organs, hemorrhaging, and a lengthy recovery time, the American Pregnancy Association adds.

    Holly Kennedy, a professor of midwifery at the Yale School of Nursing, told NPR that despite these risks, the rate of elective C-sections likely continues to rise for a few reasons -- and they range from logistical to financial.

    "As an obstetrician told me ... 'You're going to pay me more [to do a C-section], you're not going to sue me, and I'll be done in a hour,'" Kennedy told the outlet.

    Only time will tell if the trend will continue upwards -- and if we'll latch on to these lavish parties with such vigor as the Brazilians have. (Though something tells me that munching on a snack platter while watching a baby emerge from her mother's womb isn't going to catch on quite as quickly worldwide ...)