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April is Cesarean Awareness Mont ...

Posted Jun 06 2009 12:05am
April is Cesarean Awareness Month.

"What is Cesarean Awareness Month? An internationally recognized month of awareness about the impact of cesarean sections on mothers, babies, and families worldwide. It’s about educating yourself to the pros and cons of major abdominal surgery and the possibilities for healthy birth afterwards as well as educating yourself for prevention of cesarean section."

I've never been through a cesarean section myself, but having a very close family member recently have one and seeing the immense impact it has had on her life, health, and emotions has given me just a glimpse of what it must be like to have to go through such a major surgery and live with the aftermath. I honestly could not imagine having to deal with the reality of it everyday. Especially to know that there are things that can prevent a large number of the c-sections happening in our country today.

So what can we do in April for Cesarean Awareness?

If your pregnant {or trying/thinking about becoming pregnant} and facing a repeat cesarean, here's a few things to consider...

-Know your rights as a birthing woman and how to enforce your right to seek a VBAC (Vaginal Birth Afer Cesarean). You can learn about these rights in detail on ICAN's Women's Rights section.

- You can search ICAN's Hospital VBAC Policy Database to find out if your local hospital bans VBAC or not.

-What do you do if your hospital has banned VBAC's? Find out here.

What can you do if you're not facing a repeat cesarean or have never had one?

-If you know someone who has been through a cesarean, listen to her! Don't just nod your head, but really listen to her. When women feel hurt physically, mentally or emotionally, it's very isolating to feel "not heard" or worse, misunderstood. Don't just pass someone off as "another c-section" story, but realize that these are individual women and they are probably hurting inside and out.

-Ask questions. Inform yourself by talking to women who have had cesareans and also reading reading reading! The insane cesarean rate in our country is not just the problem of the women and families who undergo them. It's all of our responsibility to correct a problem in our society when we see one. And it's not just about the effect of rising health care costs to everyone due to the large number of cesarean's that are performed, it's about taking care of our women and babies. That should be one of our societies highest priorities. Not just sitting back and letting them suffer. Also, get informed for your own personal safety and that of your babies. If you're in childbearing age, you are not immune from the possibility of being faced with a c-section someday. You never, ever know what the future holds. So be prepared.

-Educate yourself and understand the things that could possibly contribute to the need for a cesarean, such as overmedicalized childbirth and labor {customary medical interventions, drugs in labor, etc.} You can read here and here to learn a little about what types of environments and interventions foster the need for a cesarean. Find many sources of infomation about childbirth options, don't just trust what one entity has told you. Talk to your doctor or ob/gyn, but also talk to a midwife or maybe talk to a Bradley Method childbirth educator. Search out information so that you can ensure the safest birth for you and your baby possible and aren't putting yourself at unneccessary risk!

-And finally, if you know someone who is trying to heal from a cesarean, physically or mentally, let them know they are not alone. Offer them support, be gentle and always have an open ear for them. As a woman, I can attest to the fact that the quickest and most direct route to healing is 1. Being heard. 2. Being understood and 3. Getting informed and changing my circumstance. Help a family member or friend start the healing process!

There are good reasons to need a cesarean in some cases. They can be life saving surgeries for both mother and baby. For Cesarean Awareness Month, we should focus on getting informed so that we can know more about this surgery, when it's actually needed and when it may not be.

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