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).
A reduction in the cesarean rate driven by women assuming responsibility for their healthcare by making evidence-based, risk appropriate childbirth decisions.
Statement of Beliefs
We, the International Cesarean Awareness Network, believe that:
- The inappropriate over use of cesarean surgery is jeopardizing the lives of mothers and babies.
- When a cesarean is necessary, it can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and baby, and worth the risks involved.
- 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.
- A healthy birth incorporates emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
- 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.
- It is unethical and unenforceable for hospitals to institute VBAC bans. Women have the right to refuse any procedure, including a cesarean.
- 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.
- It is incumbent upon every care provider and institution to facilitate the informed consent process.
- 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.
- It is unethical for a physician to recommend and/or perform non-medically indicated cesareans (elective) without first informing women of the risks of this option in childbirth.
- The trend of “elective cesareans” is being significantly overstated through distortion of research and data.
- We as women must now assume more responsibility for our own births.
- It is critical that women’s choice of care provider and location of birth is respected.