We study the waiting times for pregnancy, childbirth and puerperal care in the years of 1999 and 2002 within the Brazilian National Health System - SUS. The average waiting times were estimated by queueing theory models, and they were found to be very long and highly elastic, with respect to arrival and service rates in the system. The waiting times also presented great variability across municipalities and across states. By using multilevel regression models we estimate that the frequency of low birthweight; the cesarian section rates; the total fertility rate; the Human Development Index - IDH; and the proportion of non-resident cases treated are positively associated with waiting times. On the contrary, the utilization of prenatal care; the rates of nurses with higher level of education available; and the per capita total expenditure on health are negatively associated with waiting times.
pregnancy; childbirth and puerperal care; waiting times; Sistema Único de Saúde - SUS