Health Calendar – April Cesarean Awareness Month

SINCE 2009, a third of all births in the U.S. have been by cesarean section—the delivery of a baby through a surgical incision in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. The percentage of cesarean births has been rising steadily for more than a decade; they are up nearly 60 percent since 1996, despite evidence of the increased risk of maternal and neonatal mortality when healthy women agree to a scheduled surgery.

This awareness month was initiated by the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN), a nonprofit organization founded in 1982 primarily to improve mother-child health by preventing unnecessary
cesareans through education about risk and appropriate childbirth decisions.

Cesarean facts from ICAN

  • When a cesarean is necessary, it can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and infant.
  • Many indications for cesarean can and should be questioned.
  • In half of all cesarean births women suffer complications, and the maternal mortality rate is two to four times that of women with vaginal births.
  • Approximately 180 women die annually in the U.S. from elective repeat cesareans.
  • Vaginal birth after cesarean is safer for both mother and infant in most cases than is a repeat cesarean.
  • According to the World Health Organization, “Countries with some of the lowest perinatal mortality rates in the world have cesarean rates of less than 10 percent.”

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