- Cesarean awareness month is observed in April worldwide and aims to raise awareness and educate about cesarean sections, reducing cesarean births and advocating normal vaginal delivery after cesarean section.
- Currently nearly a third of all deliveries in the US is by cesarean section, far exceeding the optimal WHO recommended upper limit of 15 percent for any country.
- Cesarean section is an operation done to deliver the baby surgically under special circumstances when the life or health of the mother and/or baby may be at risk.
History of Cesarean Awareness Month
- International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc. (ICAN) is a non-profit organization founded by Esther Booth Zorn along with several like-minded women in 1982.
- ICAN was initially referred to as "Cesarean Prevention Movement," later coming to be known as ICAN in 1992 to reflect a more positive statement.
- It has now grown widely to over 180 chapters across the United States and worldwide over the past 30 years.
- ICAN's mission is to promote maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, encouraging Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) and providing support for recovery after cesarean section.
Aims of the International Cesarean Awareness Network
- Educating women and the public about cesarean sections and providing them with the knowledge to make informed decisions about their delivery and avoiding unnecessary cesareans.
- If a woman has already had a cesarean operation, ICAN listens to her fears and counsels her and her family as they prepare for a VBAC or a repeat cesarean.
- As an organization, ICAN also crusades on behalf of the families, having conversations with policy makers, administrators, and birth professionals for safe atural delivery and promoting maternal and child health.
Significance of the Cesarean Section Awareness Month Ribbon
- The burgundy color of the awareness ribbons represents childbirth.
- Wearing it upside down reflects the state of distress and powerlessness that many pregnant women go through when their birthing options are not in their hands.
- The loop of the inverted ribbon symbolizes the pregnant belly and the tails of the ribbon are the arms of a woman.
How To Raise Cesarean Awareness Month
- Download the cesarean section awareness ribbon and poster from the internet and post it on your page or website and share with friends to spread the awareness along with catchy messages and slogans.
- Display messages about C-section awareness in prominent locations in the community as well as hospitals and clinics.
- Organize talks by experts and healthcare professionals about cesarean section to educate the public, especially young women about the procedure and to empower them.
- Use the print media and visual media to educate the public about cesarean section.
Cesarean Section And Its Indications
A cesarean section is a surgical procedure in which a baby is delivered by making an incision on the abdomen to gain access to the womb and bring out the baby by making a cut in the uterus as well. This procedure is often done when a vaginal delivery could be associated with a higher risk of complications.
Some of the indications for cesarean sections include the following:
- Premature labor in the mother
- Fetal distress
- Baby is abnormally positioned within the womb, for instance breech presentation (feet first rather than head)
- Failure of progression of labor
- Viral infection in mother, such as HIV or hepatitis B or C
- Low lying placenta
- Prolapsed cord
- Maternal medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension
- Large baby and small pelvis
Complications of cesarean delivery include increased risk of infection, blood clots, longer lasting pain and increased time for recovery, and recurrent hospital visits as a result.
‘There is no scientific basis to account for the steep rise in cesarean deliveries, such as change in womens bodies or their birthing abilities.’
Possible Reasons for Steep Rise in C-sections
As stated earlier almost a third of deliveries are by cesarean sections nowadays compared to about 5 percent in the mid-sixties. Some of the following reasons have been attributed to this rise
- Increased prevalence of obesity in pregnant women
- Increased incidence of multiple births
- Rise in maternal age at delivery
- Tendency of health care professionals to favor C-sections (especially if there is history of previous C-section)
Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC)
The main reason VBACs are approached with caution by doctors is the risk of uterine rupture due to giving away of the previous scar
on the uterus that can be life-threatening. However, the risk of uterine rupture occurring is rare, and occurs in less than 1% of women
who proceed to have a VBAC. Following VBAC, the risk of uterine rupture decreases more with each normal vaginal delivery.
Tips To Avoid Unnecessary Cesarean Section
- Read and educate yourself about cesarean sections
- Be active, exercise regularly and attain a healthy weight before trying to conceive
- Walk for at least 20 minutes each day during pregnancy
- Choose a doctor known to have low rate of C-sections; ask about VBAC policies and vaginal breech delivery
- Hire a mid-wife or doula to assist you during labor
- Avoid induction of labor, if there is no indication
- Surround yourself with people who inspire confidence that normal delivery is the right thing; join a birth support group
- Believe in yourself that you can have a normal delivery
- Cesarean Awareness Month: An Interview with Christa Billings, President of International Cesarean Awareness Network- (https://www.scienceandsensibility.org/blog/cesarean-awareness-month-an-interview-with-christa-billings,-president-of-international-cesarean-awareness-network)
- Advocacy - (http://www.ican-online.org/advocacy/)