In the last week of #Cesareanawarenessmonth I took some time to chat with LaQuitha Glass, current President of the International Cesarean Awareness Network via email about ICAN, and its importance in an ever changing birth environment.
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).
ICAN was formed in 1982 by Elizabeth Handler and Esther Zorn. Through hundreds of local programs, ICAN helps thousands of women each year by providing education and support for issues surrounding cesarean and post cesarean options. They also advocate for women who find themselves gestating and giving birth in hostile birthing environments.
ICAN specializes in providing information on family-centered cesarean, cesarean recovery, cesarean prevention, VBAC planning, VBAC recovery, postpartum support, and emotional support. We provide a number of in-person and virtual resources for all mothers seeking information on pre and post cesarean options.
Thanks so much for chatting with me, LaQuitha, we are very happy to have you speak to us about such an important topic.
LaQuitha, if you could tell every family one thing about birth, what would it be?
If I could offer one piece of advice to all families, it would be to find a provider who is completely supportive of your family’s birth wishes. This can have a major impact on the birth experience of the mother, and subsequently, the family.
If possible, try to have a plan in the event of a cesarean. Think of one or two things that you value and have a discussion with your provider and family about the logistics of making those things happen. Don’t be afraid to enlist additional professional support if you are able to do so!
With the demands of motherhood and a new baby, it is easy to forget that a cesarean is major abdominal surgery and that women need adequate time to fully recover physically.
How can our clients and birth workers in Colorado Springs get involved in ICAN?
As a nonprofit organization powered by volunteers, we are always on the lookout for new volunteers who can identify with our mission. One of the easiest ways to get involved is to contact your local program and ask what type of support they need. Additionally, you can contact ICAN National for information on volunteering in a national position. If you would like to support ICAN but are short on time, you can also consider becoming a supporting member. Each membership goes towards the fulfillment of our mission.
How does someone start an ICAN chapter in their area? It looks like the closest to us is in Denver.
If you would like to start a chapter, please visit http://www.ican-online.org/starting-a-chapter/ to learn about the requirements and to fill out an application. A volunteer will then contact you to let you know the next steps to getting your chapter going!
In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month, ICAN is offering two webinars free to the public. The first, “Is Your Provider VBAC Friendly or VBAC Tolerant?” is hosted by Melek Speros and discusses the nuances between providers who are likely to be truly VBAC supportive and those who may be on the fence for a variety of reasons.
The second, “Who’s Birth is it Anyway? Rights and Protections During Labor and Birth” is hosted by Farah Diaz-Tello, Staff Attorney for National Advocates for Pregnant Women. This webinar discusses informed consent and refusal. Additionally, they have a number of new brochures available in our online bookstore, which offer valuable tips for all birthing mothers, including first time moms.
For daily information, support and inspiration, follow ICAN on Facebook.