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.”