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The International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc. (ICAN) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC).
Statement of Beliefs:
(revised September 2007)
We, the International Cesarean Awareness Network, Inc., believe that:
1. The inappropriate over use of cesarean surgery is jeopardizing the lives of mothers and babies.
2. When a cesarean is necessary, it can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and baby, and worth the risks involved.
3. Birth is a normal physiological process. Research shows that with emotional support, education, and an honest opportunity, the vast majority of women can have a healthy vaginal birth.
4. A healthy birth incorporates emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
5. Research shows that VBAC is reasonable and safe for both mother and baby. A repeat cesarean should never be considered routine– it is major abdominal surgery with many risks.
6. It is unethical and unenforceable for hospitals to institute VBAC bans. Women have the right to refuse any procedure, including a cesarean.
7. Women have the right to true informed consent and refusal, which entails full knowledge of the risks and benefits of all tests, drugs, and procedures.
8. It is incumbent upon every care provider and institution to facilitate the informed consent process.
9. Women must be allowed to express all their birth related feelings in a safe and supportive environment. The emotions of a pregnant and birthing woman have profound effects on the birth outcome and recovery.
10. It is unethical for a physician to recommend and/or perform non-medically indicated cesareans (elective). Women are not being fully informed of the risks of this option in childbirth, and therefore make decisions based on cultural myth and fear surrounding childbirth.
11. The trend of “elective cesareans” is being significantly overstated through distortion of research and data.
12. We as women must now assume more responsibility for our own births.
13. It is critical that women’s choice of care provider and location of birth is respected.
ICAN Vision Statement:
A healthy reduction of the cesarean rate driven by women making evidence-based, risk appropriate childbirth decisions.
Additional information about ICAN is available here.