Brazilians know how to throw a good party (Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival, anyone?!), but there’s a new social trend in the country that takes celebrating to the next level.
Affluent, expecting Brazilians are hosting elective “C-section parties” at hospitals while the actual procedure takes place—a sort-of sterile fête while a woman goes under the knife, complete with flowers, catering, and gift bags. The main event, of course, is the birth itself, which can be viewed from a gallery and is often live streamed by guests.
According to a new report from The Washington Post, family and friends are turning up in droves for these highly orchestrated gatherings, which are put together by maternity event planners hired by the families.
The clinical parties can cost up to $10,000 and include “floral arrangements, guest books, monogrammed sheets, personalized water bottles, and silver-plated favors for guests,” according to the outlet.
“It’s a special occasion,” one new mom named Casmalla told the Post. “Don’t we get dressed up for parties and special dates? It’s the same thing.”
According to the newspaper, the country has one of the highest rates of Caesarean births in the world, at 55.5 percent of all deliveries being performed this way. In private hospitals that number is 84 percent. Comparatively, in the U.S. just 32.9 percent of births are via C-section.
Elective C-sections—operations that are planned beforehand—are a “status symbol among Brazil’s elite,” according to the Post, allowing those who can afford to do so, avoid labor and schedule a planned delivery.
However, the World Health Organization warns against elective C-sections, which can put “women and their babies at-risk of short- and long-term health problems.”
The Brazilian parties to celebrate C-sections are on par with their wedding celebrations—with planners, and food, and decorations—and that reflects in the cost. According to the Post, at one private hospital in Sao Paulo, a woman’s family can rent out the presidential hospital suite for around $500 that comes with a living room, a bathroom for guests, a balcony, and minibar. Hiring a maternity party planner to run the event can cost up to $10,000.
“It’s cultural,” Marcia da Costa, director of Sao Luiz hospital in Sao Paulo, told the publication. “Brazilians want to plan for everything. They don’t want to hit traffic on the way to the hospital. They want to get their nails done, get a wax, to plan it like an event.”