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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ICAN Responds to the Coalition for Childbirth Autonomy's Statement on the Cesarean Rate

A cross-post from the official ICAN blog:


The Coalition for Childbirth Autonomy (CCA) released a statement today questioning the World Health Organization’s recommended cesarean rate of 10 - 15%. CCA suggests that a woman should be able to request a cesarean without medical indication. While ICAN supports both updated research on this topic and an increase in patient education and autonomy, we maintain that many women who are choosing a cesarean are making that decision without full informed consent.


Research shows that cesareans introduce additional risk in dozens of areas when compared to a vaginal birth. For the mother, these increased risks include death, hysterectomy, bood clots, increased pain & recovery time, infection, and post-partum depression(1). For the infant, additional risks include respiratory problems, breastfeeding problems, asthma in childhood(1), and type 1 diabetes(2). In addition, there are increased risks in future pregnancies, such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy, placenta abnormality, uterine rupture, preterm birth, and stillbirth(1).


ICAN does not believe that cesarean should be the typical solution for fear of childbirth. With appropriate counseling, most women who fear childbirth are comfortable attempting a vaginal birth (3, 4). Most show long-term satisfaction with their decision to change modes of delivery (4), and with intensive therapy, labor times were shorter (3).


ICAN will continue to work to improve maternal-child health and to protect a woman’s right to ethical and evidence-based care during pregnancy and childbirth.


(1) Maternity Center Association. 2004. What Every Pregnant Woman Needs to Know about Cesarean Section. New York: MCA. www.maternitywise.org.
(2) Cardwell, CR et al. Caesarean section is associated with an increased risk of childhood-onset type 1 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Diabetologia. 2008 May;51(5):726-35.
(3) Saisto, T et al. A randomized controlled trial of intervention in fear of childbirth. Obstet Gynecol. 2001 Nov;98(5 Pt 1):820-6.
(4) Nerum, H et al. Maternal request for cesarean section due to fear of birth: can it be changed through crisis-oriented counseling? Birth. 2006 Sep;33(3):221-8.

1 comment:

heather d said...

I am glad there was an official response to this! I saw it yesterday and was horrified. The press release comes off as very "factual," and reminds me that there are those who are working just as hard us as at increasing/upholding the cesarean culture we are currently in.