The International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) has launched a new, user-friendly website, in an effort to further the group's outreach. Easy navigation is a key feature of the revamped site, which provides information separated into five categories: Pregnancy, Recovery, Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), Advocacy, and Community.
The site lets women research the VBAC policies of hospitals near them; learn how to correct problems (such as malposition or pre-eclampsia) that commonly lead to cesareans; get quick physical recovery tips to help after a cesarean; and stay up-to-date on medical research on pregnancy and birth. New community features include user birth blogs, videos and images; and the capability for users to create their own homepage on the ICAN site to share with friends and family. ICAN leadership also can connect more easily with the women ICAN serves via the site. Further, the site features a new logo. ICAN is pleased to note that the logo and all of the web work were completed entirely by volunteers.
This new site is a proactive response to research in 2007 by the National Center for Health Statistics that showed the cesarean rate reached a record high of 31.1%. Further, a CDC report indicated the maternal death rate rose for the first time in decades, and Consumer Reports includes a cesarean in its list of "10 overused tests and treatments." Other research from 2007 cites that VBAC continues to be a reasonably safe birthing choice for mothers. And while studies indicate a VBAC is a viable option, women often have difficulty finding a health care provider who encourages a VBAC—which is where one of the site's new features comes into play.
"The most useful tool for women is probably the Hospital VBAC Ban information," Collins said. "Women can look up the hospitals near them and find out their VBAC policy and if any doctors are actually available to attend them. It is getting difficult for so many women to find a VBAC supportive provider and this is one way to make that a little easier for them."
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. There are more than 94 ICAN Chapters across North America, which hold educational and support meetings for people interested in cesarean prevention and recovery.