Cesarean Awareness Month 2023
Cesarean Awareness Month aims to raise awareness and educate people about cesareans.
This awareness campaign supports a reduction in the number of cesareans in mothers who do not really need or who will not benefit from this procedure when compared to a vaginal birth. Cesarean Awareness Month also promotes Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) and support for recovery from a cesarean.
Raising Awareness About Cesarean Section
A cesarean section is a surgical operation in which a baby is delivered through a cut in the front wall of the abdomen and womb. This procedure is often used when a vaginal birth carries a higher risk of complications.
For example, a cesarean section may be performed when:
- A baby is in a feet first position (breech position).
- The mother has gone into premature labor.
- The labor does not progress in a normal manner.
- There is a viral infection (such as hepatitis C or HIV).
- The mother has placenta praevia; a condition in which the placenta is low lying and covers part of the entrance to the womb.
Becoming Aware Of The Increasing Trend Towards Cesarean Section
In the US and in many other countries the proportion of cesarean sections has risen steadily in recent years and this rise is not due to a rise in complications listed above. In the US, the 2007 cesarean section rate was about 32%; for every 3 births one was by cesarean section, compared to about 5%, or 1 in 20, during the mid 1960's.
The reasons for this rise have been widely debated and may be due to many factors. These include a rise in multiple births, an increase in obesity in pregnant women, and a rise in the number of older women giving birth. Induced labor is also more commonplace and is associated with a rise in C-Sections. Couple these factors with a trend in healthcare providers and health insurance companies generally favoring cesarean section over vaginal birth, and we can begin to understand this higher rate.
Lack Of Awareness Of Cesarean Complications
There is also a lack of awareness in mothers that cesarean sections are a major operation which carries its own potential complications. This surgery can lead to increased risk of infection, blood clots, intense longer lasting pain, and repeat hospital visits as a result.
Health professionals do not always give expectant mothers an informed choice, favoring cesarean section over a vaginal birth. This may be due to a fear that there is greater risk of being sued if there are complications with vaginal birth when compared to cesarean section.
Whilst current rates are over 30% in the US, there is evidence which suggests that a cesarean section rate of about 5-10% is optimal in terms of best outcome for mothers and babies.
Cesarean Awareness Month aims to make expectant mothers aware that vaginal births can often be a choice they can take over cesarean section.