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April is Cesarean Awareness Month


Unknown to most people, along with Autism Awareness Month, April is Cesarean Awareness Month.

When I discuss this with local mothers — and sometimes health care providers — most question the need for an entire month to promote awareness on surgical birth.

Through the local chapter of The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN of Connecticut) I have learned how much the number of Cesarean sections is impacting our mothers in the Naugatuck Valley and across the state.

Unfortunately, the current C-section rate in the United States is at 32.3% as of 2008, which is the most recently released statistic provided by the CDC.

It also marks the twelfth consecutive year the Cesarean birth rate has risen, despite a number of medical organizations — including The World Health Organization (WHO) and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) — urging medical care providers to work on lowering the Cesarean birth rates and increase access to Vaginal Birth after Cesarean (VBAC).

Connecticut, unfortunately, is above average, with a surgical birth rate of 34.6% as of 2007, which is also the most recent local released statistics per the CDC.

Why is this of serious nature?

The World Health Organization recommends a cesarean birth rate of 10 percent to 15 percent at the highest for an industrialized nation, such as the U.S.

It is not only for the safety of our babies, but for the safety of our mothers, and their reproductive futures.

When a Cesarean section is necessary it is a lifesaving procedure for mothers and babies. Unfortunately for women birthing in Connecticut today, it is estimated that almost half of all the C-section births are medically unnecessary.

In the Valley, several hospitals offer labor and delivery services and also permit VBAC, which some hospitals across the state have banned — despite repeated studies showing vaginal birth after Cesarean to be a safer alternative over an elective repeat Cesarean delivery.

To get involved, or learn more about The International Cesarean Awareness Network of Connecticut, which locally sponsors Cesarean Awareness Month, you can e-mail them at

or visit their Web site.

Danielle Elwood

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