Friday, April 4, 2008

Cesarean Awareness Month

April is Cesarean Awareness Month. Many people may wonder why there is a need for Cesarean Awareness. I never gave it much thought until the unplanned and traumatic cesarean birth of my oldest Zachary. That experience led me to become a birth doula and changed my life forever in mostly wonderful ways. (The scar and being labeled "high risk" - not so wonderful.)

I don't think I am very eloquent with my words when it comes to things like this so I am posting quotes from two women I respect a lot. The first is from the Vice President of ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) of Colorado. The second is from a friend and former President of ICAN of Colorado. First I have to say that I firmly believe that there are necessary cesareans. Additionally if someone reads this who had a cesarean regardless of the circumstances, and is at peace with it and maybe even loved it, this post is not intended to discredit or damage that in any way. It took me a long time to get to a point where I could accept and appreciate my cesarean birth and I hope the same for all of my "sisters of the scar."

"What is Cesarean Awareness Month? An internationally recognized month of awareness about the impact of cesarean sections on mothers, babies, and families worldwide. It's about educating yourself to the pros and cons of major abdominal surgery and the possibilities for healthy birth afterwards as well as educating yourself for prevention of cesarean section.

Cesarean awareness is for mothers who are expecting or who might choose to be in the future. It's for daughters who don't realize what choices are being taken away from them. It's for scientists studying the effects of cesareans and how birth impacts our lives. It's for grandmothers who won't be having more children but are questioning the abdominal pains and adhesions causing damage 30 years after their cesareans.

Cesareans are serious. There is no need for a 'catchy phrase' to tell us that this is a mainstream problem. It affects everyone. One in three American women every year have surgery to bring their babies into the world. These women have lifelong health effects, impacting the families that are helping them in their healing, impacting other families through health care costs and policies, and bringing back those same lifelong health effects to the children they bring into this world.

Be aware. Read. Learn. Ask questions. Get informed consent. Be your own advocate for the information you need to know.
Subscriptions are reduced for this month!

"When I hear from women that some c-sects are necessary, I try to remind them of the WHO recommendation. Absolutely 10-15% of cesareans (possibly yours) are necessary. We have an almost 40% rate in the [Denver] metro area and that is putting women and babies at risk. We induce, we augment, we scare. It's not about them and their births - it's about the facts. Just because you "needed" yours, or felt that was a good option for you - where does that leave the other 30% of women that are being forced, cajoled, scared, lied to, coerced. What about if you really wanted to have a VBAC? What are your options?

Reducing the c-sect rate is Public Health goal. What we are doing is important. Don't give up! That little bit of education at a time is exactly what is called for.

Another analogy I use in class is: imagine your wedding planning. Every day you plan on getting married at the beach. You pick the dress, you plan the wedding - all around the beach. On the day of the wedding, a hurricane comes and you have to get married in a church. The ceremony is in a different language and you are made to be completely across the room from your husband. You cannot touch or laugh or recite your vows. Hey - don't be sad. You're still married. What's the big deal? At least you have a husband. Right?

For more information on ICAN of Colorado please visit their website at

Happy birthing!

1 comment:

Mra said...

I had c- sections 13 years ago, I did not think I cared about having the twins naturally, but apparently someplace deep inside my heart I did. It was really a shock to me- when I though about the births that I felt like something was never finish, something was missing, something was empty, and something was lost. This vague feeling about the CS stayed with me for years. It’s gone now but I will never forget the sense of lost I had, and try to relate with compassion to other mom’s who may feel as I did.