Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Important Work of ICAN

Welcome to Childbirth Today's 2012 Blog Carnival - honoring the busy month of May and all of the celebrations of midwives, nurses, doulas and childbirth educators...AND mothers!  Today's blog carnival entry features a post by Kimberly Sebeck, Chapter Leader for ICAN of Knoxville Tennessee,
who shares the important work of this vital organization!

What is ICAN? ICAN stands for International Cesarean Awareness Network. It is a non-profit organization that was founded by Esther Booth Zorn and other motivated women in 1982. ICAN has now grown to over 170 chapters throughout the United States and worldwide and is an all-volunteer organization.

ICAN’s Mission Statement is this:

“To improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). 

Some may wonder what the big deal is about preventing cesareans; after all, cesareans can be a life-saving procedure for mothers and babies. Sadly, evidence and statistics have shown that the procedure is often grossly overused and carries its own risks for mothers and babies. Many birth practices and interventions used casually in the world have led to iatrogenic causes for surgical births, when less or no intervention was probably the better choice.

Statistics for 2011 estimate that cesarean births account for 34% nationwide -- despite the fact that WHO (The World Health Organization) recommends a cesarean birth percentage somewhere between 10-15%.  At some hospitals and in some states and nations the percentage is much higher. This leads to the train of thought that where you choose to give birth and with which type of provider greatly impacts your chance of having a cesarean. ICAN helps to provide evidence based information to help families make the right decisions for themselves and their births. They also provide resources on a local, national, and international level to help women make informed decisions about their pregnancy, birth, and recovery. In the event that a woman has had a surgical birth, or even multiple surgical births, ICAN helps to promote VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) when appropriate and provides local and online support for those striving for a VBAC.

If you are interested in learning more about ICAN, volunteering, or looking for a chapter in your area, please visit their website at

About the author:
Kimberly Sebeck is the Chapter Leader for ICAN of Knoxville, TN.
She is a Doula and Childbirth Educator.

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