Where to give birth…???

Giving birth in South America was never in our original plan. We intended to return to California to give birth. Somewhere along the way our thinking changed, and the idea of returning to the US for any reason slowly dwindled away.

In Venezuela we stopped taking the pill and accepted that wherever we got pregnant was where we’d have our child. That place ended up being Peru.

At first we were both excited. Forty weeks is a long time for us to spend in one place, and we both love Peru.

But after we were actually pregnant, reality settled in. It’s not that we’re snobby, or super picky, but the one thing we both want is a safe, natural birth. And the one thing we know about Perus is –

Everything is one step forward, two steps back.

Our first surprise was learning about

The Business Of Caesarean Deliveries

In the private clinics in Peru, over 80% of women have a caesarean vs. a natural birth. There are 2 main reasons for this.

1) Money – the hospitals charge more for caesareans and therefore encourage them.

2) Convenience – The doctors work at up to 4 clinics and are always rotating between them. Waiting around for a natural birth in one place takes time. Therefore they encourage and even push women to schedule their birth via caesarean.

This is absolutely CRAZY to us.

Neither one of us wanted our baby to be “scheduled”. We started interviewing doctors looking for one who would support our goal of a natural child birth. In addition to this stipulation, we also had a list of requirements that we considered mandatory for a safe, natural birth. Nothing too extravagant. Simple things, like being able to find a vein in less than one hour…

Another make-or-break was finding a place that would allow me, the father, to be in the delivery room. This is illegal in Trujillo. But, as with most laws in Peru, there isn’t anything that money can’t solve, so we kept interviewing doctors to find the one who would “bend” the rule.

All the doctors thought we were crazy showing up with pages of questions and special requests. We had to be persistent. We know first hand that NOBODY in Peru will volunteer information. You have to pro-activly pursue everything. You can’t assume anything.

We finally found a good doctor who worked with an amazing midwife.  Stevie liked both of them. She was a rock star. And he was kind and honest. He patiently listened to all of our questions and concerns.

Then he told us to go to Lima.

So we went to Lima. There we found another great doctor. We found all the modern equipment. We thought we were set, and then we got the first bill. Ouch!

We were no longer paying Peruvian prices, so the question then became whether or not we could even afford to have a baby in Lima. (Our insurance in the States will not cover our birth in Peru, so everything will be out of pocket). The adventure continues.

So we still don’t know what we’re doing or where we’re going.

One step forward. Two steps back.

The good news is that we’re past all the first trimester tests and our baby is completely healthy!

The not so good news is that we’re both getting a little stressed since we still have NO idea where we’re going to have the baby. We’d really like to get this settled soon. And,

We really hope it looks like this…

And not like this…

That’s the update from Peru.


  1. Pat Reeves says:

    May your path take you safely through this journey!!!!!!! Love You Both!!!!!

  2. Erin Campbell Johnson says:

    Costa Rica?

  3. Americas Twentyeleven says:


  4. Cate Brubaker says:

    Have you looked at Midwifery Today? They have quite a few articles and contacts for doulas and midwives in Peru.

  5. Lorraine Chittock says:

    I think in Peru the midwives are into crouching next to a pole and screaming. 😉 Can’t believe your bill was same price???? Bizarre….

  6. Corrin Crone Phillips says:

    Hilarious post you two. Have you considered Chile? Having dual citizenship in a place with mountains AND waves sounds good to me.

  7. Mark Avery says:


  8. its not about money or citizenship. Have the kid in the US because you assured the best care possible. Otherwise Cuba, they have a fantastic healthcare system.

    • You have been watching too many Michael Moore movies!! If you are high in the Party or are a tourist, the medical care is good. If you are the average Cuban, your hospital stay will be on a different floor, with old and outdated equipment, few supplies that most would consider essential (cotton swabs, wound dressing materials including bandaids, pain medication other than aspirin [no Tylenol], sterile gloves–you name it and they don’t have it available.

  9. Veronica Grey says:

    water birth

  10. Hannah Glenn says:

    it’s pretty damn cheap to have a baby in CR!

  11. Freida Whiddon Cox says:

    Stevie, we found the same thing in Trujillo with the dentist, same price as in the States…lol be safe!

  12. Barrett Elizabeth says:

    It’s so nuts… the C section thing is happening in the US too.

  13. Andrea Greever says:

    take no chances on the birth of your child pick a place that will be able to handle ANYTHING that happens and make sure Stevie gets the best 🙂

  14. Cheryll Anglin says:

    can you hear the little voice in your head saying…hood river…hood river…hood river? xxxx

  15. Lisa Labon says:

    Get a midwife and have the baby at home assuming you and baby are totally healthy…do the prenatal checkups (avoid the invasive tests) and trust your body…I have a feeling the high c-section rate has to do with tiny women and gigantic babies…babies are getting fat inutero b/c of the high sugar diet people are on…women are gaining way too much weight during pregnancy…gestational diabetes is not only on the rise, but it directly affects the baby’s likelihood of having serious health problems…I had 4 babies in hospitals b/c of all the fear and pressure from well intentioned family and friends but I am kicking myself now for not trusting my body more…I really wanted to do a home birth or water birth…I literally lived 1 mile from the hospital and I was so healthy…it’s truly a shame I didn’t have the guts to go for it…it really matters who you surround yourself with…if you are healthy, you can have a baby all on your own with either Tree, a midwife, doula, etc…the babies do not need vitamin K shots, the umbilical cords cut right away (you’re supposed to let them pump out naturally)…they only need your breast…we’ve made it a ridiculous production b/c of the scare stories…it’s like putting cages on your windows b/c you saw on the news that someone got shot in your city…trust, trust, trust your beautiful body to do what is MADE to do…I was never more in awe of my body than after I had a baby…{still kicking myself that I didn’t trust her more and have my babies at home}….sigh…

    d I should add that the fear and expectation of pain causes most of the pain in labor…you can have your baby without pain…I got very close…but fear and tension is hard to get rid of with all the conditioning in our culture and stories…so allow for that possibility, too…

  16. Alexis Schafer says:

    Where ever you choose you have to be comfortable and feel safe. Your labor will be more strenuous if you don’t. A lot more happens after a baby is born and within the 1st year. Even healthy babies and the best mothers may need added attention. Owen was born with one foot bent completely backwards (toes touching his shin) They had to slowly everyday bend it the right way. Then he wasn’t talking and he ended up needing tubes in his ears. Post delivery some women experience fevers, depression etc. Or excess bleeding. Where ever you choose to stay you should feel comfortable and safe dealing with all these possible situations. With babies and pregnancy NOTHING is guaranteed. All you can do is prepare for situations you know about so you can deal with situations that you don’t. It doesn’t matter what so-and-so did. Or how so-and-so’s pregnancy went; it’s what works for YOU. Your only priority should be taking care of you and your baby’s health and safety. Everything else won’t be important if something goes wrong. Ask yourselves this: If something went wrong, where would I feel the safest? Where ever that might be, go there. No one can tell you where that is btw, it’s a decision for the two of you to make and your loved ones to support. xoxox 🙂

  17. Monique Saul says:

    Just a thought. George W signed something into law where hospitals take blood from your newborn without your parental consent or permission. Even if you say no they take it anyway. Don’t know about Peru. Didn’t know about this until after giving birth to Aliza. 🙁 may have done a home birth otherwise.

  18. Cynthia Rouzee Franken says:

    Thailand has roughly the same C Section rate but I pushed Kai out the old fashioned way. Buck the system! It helps to shop around for a doc that wants to go natural … we found one in the heart of Bangkok, so I have a good feeling for you guys!

  19. Maria Wingens says:

    Hey guys, i had an emergency C-sectio with my Baby and i would have been so damn frightened in Peru, even Lima. But I think the clinica alemana in Santiago de Chile is very very advanced and are even better than most european hospitals. They have a normal C-sectio-rate, too : 30%. I would definitely go there in whole South America!

  20. Kelly Roberts says:

    You have Helena, lovely lady 100000 of woman her have babies, in the highlands and in the jungle more woman have there babies at home than in hospital, you can do it!!

  21. Erin Day says:

    France….the reasons are endless…but that’s just my opinion. Don’t base your decision on fear, I know you won’t, and after that baby is out, all he or she will need for a year is you and your boobs, they are great travelers when they are breast feeding. I know people mean well, but think where the two of you would be if you had based all your decisions on what could go wrong. Your body was made for this, you are the embodiment of the feminine creative aspect of the universe. You got this!

  22. Sandra Simpson says:

    The France idea is well founded. I have lived in both France and Holland, (and a few other places) In Holland with childbirth, it is all natural. You will have to really insist to get anything type of drug (for pain, or anything else) during childbirth. Really cool country and has been this way for a long time. .

  23. mamatuyas says:

    Wherever you decide to deliver, I will be there.

  24. Mariana Rendon says:

    Remember you have family in Mexico 😉

  25. Louisa Baxter says:

    call me babe, we should talk about this x

  26. Lisa Labon says:

    By the way, this image is incredibly disturbing. I fired my male ob…not that western trained women are all that much better…but this weird disconnect between the doc and the woman in labor has always bothered me…a wise and experienced midwife who knows when to call in ER docs is really the way to go…just don’t get stuck on a deserted island or in a snow storm and your odds are dang good…also, does having a baby outside the US create a problem for citizenship?

  27. Arlene Burns says:

    my belly says argentina… what a cool place to be born! definately a country that supports the natural way.. what a journey you are on, my friends.. so nice that you educate and inform us en route to the task at hand..

    the area around salta argentina is still indigenous and yet modern.. landscapes like moab not far from there.. and highest of deserts..but not coastal.

    that could be an interesting place to hunker down.. or .. brasil, on the coast.. forteleza is biggest airport /city or near florinopolis

    the brazillians should be quite progressive in these realms..

    just ideas..

  28. paul lyttle says:

    is it a boy or a girl?

  29. If you guys had a home birth, would it be in the Sprinter? That would be awesome. I vote for a natural water birth in the sprinter at a border crossing while skyping with a doctor from Chile and emailing the doula in Mexico. If that doesn’t work, Scripps Mary Birch in San Diego is one of the finest places to give birth any way you choose and as a bonus you’re in America’s finest city. Tree, I can be your man doula, it’s the latest thing. I can bring you coffee and gatoraide, tell you everything is going to be ok. Rub your shoulders when you get tense. Remind you to breath and give you up to the minute NFL scores. Say the word, I’m here for you guys.


    I’m glad you guys are having this baby adventure, it’s the best one so far!

  30. Michael Lorenzo says:

    Do it in Vegas.

  31. It really nice reading your page, im american filipino , grew up in San Diego. I live now in lima peru with my husband. We had our son via c section at clinica mansion de santee.. I really didnt want a c section at all but dispite all the family my husband has here in peru didnt worn us about the doctors and c sections ..anywho im pregnant again and disire to have a water birth.. have you herd of a place here that does it .. im just browsing online rigght now.

    • Hey Kim. Congrats on the new baby on the way! The Pakarii Center in Lima does water birth. It’s a beautiful birthing center. Angela (the doctor who runs it) was going to be out of the country around the time of our due date, so we chose to go to Clinica Montesur with Dr.Gonzalez del Riego. We also used a doula names Roxana, the owner of PreNatal. She has 2 locations, one in Miraflores, and one just a couple blocks from Clinica Montesur. Good luck to you and keep us posted. And please give your belly a loving rub for me 🙂

  32. Hi!! I live in Finland but my husband is peruvian. We are planning to have the baby in Peru but yet I have know idea about anything….How was the price? And wich hospital in Lima u choosed? I will be living in Lima. I hope u could have some tips for us =)

    • Hi there! We chose to live in Miraflores, which was a great neighborhood in Lima. We gave birth at Clinica Montesur with Dr. Jaime Gonzalez del Riego. We used a wonderful doula by the name of Roxana from Prenatal. A natural birth costs around $2k, and prenatal care will cost around $1k. The entire birth experience is around $3,000 USD. You can of course find cheaper options, and I imagine a cesarean would cost more. Another clinic that I might check out would be Clinica San Felipe. It’s very modern, but a bit far from Miraflores. I wish you the best of luck! Please keep up us posted. Abrazos!

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