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Cesarean Awareness Month – April 2023

Cesarean Awareness Month, which takes place in April, is a worldwide campaign to educate society about surgical births, their importance, and when they become a problem. A cesarean is a life-saving procedure for women in need but is also a problem when performed unnecessarily.

In some countries, there is an insufficient number of cesarean deliveries to meet the cases that need this procedure. In others, cesarean sections on healthy women compromise the health of mothers and children. The campaign aims to reduce preventable cesareans in mothers who do not need or will not benefit from it, support post-cesarean recovery, and advocate for vaginal delivery after cesarean.

History of Cesarean Awareness Month

Human beings belong to the subgroup of mammals called primates. But during evolution, some of our features set us apart from other ape-like creatures, which indeed brought us some advantages, but may also have brought us some problems.

One of those problems surrounds natural childbirth. The human body has undergone several transformations to walk upright on two legs, including the shortening of the pelvis. In addition, is the fact that our species has a singularly large brain. Mothers with short pelvises and babies with large heads have made human childbirth a painful and potentially dangerous event.

From the 16th century onwards, with the progress of modern science based on intense intervention on the body and nature, childbirth became increasingly instrumentalized and medicalized. On the one hand, this allowed the development of increasingly safe techniques to save countless mothers and children who previously died during childbirth.

The most iconic of these was the cesarean section. On the other hand, a growing medical intervention in childbirth, especially from the 20th century onwards, ended up hampering women’s right to choose and transforming cesarean section into an epidemic in some countries.

Cesarean Awareness Month is an initiative of the International Cesarean Awareness Network to educate the public about the reality of childbirth. Unfortunately, there are numerous reports of mothers suffering moral and physical trauma during pregnancy and childbirth. The indiscriminate prescription of cesareans is part of this statistic called obstetric violence, a specific violation of human rights and a considerable public health problem.

To protect mothers who were victims of obstetric violence and misinformation during pregnancy, women and families all over the U.S. and Canada organized themselves into grassroots movements in the 1970s. Out of these movements emerged the Cesarean Prevention Movement, which later became the International Cesarean Awareness Network.

Cesarean Awareness Month timeline

1970s
A Grassroots Movements for Cesarean Prevention

Victims of obstetric violence and women seeking opportunities for humanized childbirth organize themselves in grassroots movements.

1982
The International Cesarean Awareness Network

Several activists for the reduction of preventable cesareans come together and form the International Cesarean Awareness Network.

1990s
Vaginal Births Gain More Acceptance

The claim for dignity at the time of childbirth and respect for the decisions of mothers makes vaginal delivery gain greater public acceptance.

1999
New Positioning of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists revises its guidelines on vaginal delivery and ends up encouraging the return of cesarean sections.

2003
The Network Grows Stronger

With the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ review, several health facilities abandon vaginal births and thousands of pregnant women are left with no option and start to seek help from the International Cesarean Awareness Network.

Cesarean Awareness Month FAQs

Why is there a Cesarean Awareness Month?

There is an overuse of cesarean sections in many countries. Cesarean Awareness Month aims to raise awareness and reduce the number of cesarean sections in mothers who will not benefit from this procedure.

Which week of pregnancy is good for a c-section?

Women usually have a planned cesarean section at 39 weeks of pregnancy.

Do male doctors perform more cesareans?

Yes, statistically male doctors perform more cesarean sections than female doctors.

How to Observe Cesarean Awareness Month

  1. Let everyone know about Cesarean Awareness Month

    Spread the word on social media about events and information on the procedure. Share the graphs and numbers.

  2. Show some concern

    Show your care and interest. Research online and find out more about what expectant mothers go through physically, psychologically, and emotionally before and after a cesarean.

  3. Help pregnant women get informed

    Do you have any friends or family who are expectant mothers? Share your knowledge and support.

5 Facts About Cesarean Sections You Should Know

  1. The first cesarean took place in 1500

    It was done by a sow castrator from Switzerland when he realized that his wife was facing complications.

  2. It is also called a c-section

    Cesarean delivery is also known as a c-section.

  3. Four countries lead in cesarean overuse

    In Brazil, Cyprus, Egypt, and the Dominican Republic more than half of the births are by cesarean section.

  4. Fewer children are born on holidays

    With the overuse of cesarean sections and scheduled deliveries, the number of births on holidays is decreasing.

  5. Not every woman needs it

    About 26% of C-sections in the US are performed on healthy women with low-risk pregnancies.

Why Cesarean Awareness Month is Important

  1. It helps women in vulnerable situations

    The high number of unnecessary cesarean sections and obstetric abuse is compounded by the condition of vulnerability in which a pregnant woman might find herself. Raising childbirth awareness is critical to protecting expectant mothers from possible mistreatment.

  2. It helps reduce postpartum depression rates

    One study found that first-time mothers who give birth by unplanned cesarean section are 15% more likely to suffer from postpartum depression. Being prepared can help greatly.

  3. It's the kind of information that saves lives

    Cesarean Awareness Month informs families about the risks and complications of a cesarean, including the situations when it is needed. This helps reduce postpartum depression and possible post-surgery complications, which protect women's lives.

Cesarean Awareness Month dates

YearDateDay
2023April 1Saturday
2024April 1Monday
2025April 1Tuesday
2026April 1Wednesday
2027April 1Thursday
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