May 16 Rally To Raise Awareness of Cesarean Dangers and Prevention
Over 35% of new mothers in Metro Atlanta have a cesarean section, but as many as 75% of those surgeries are avoidable. Up to half of women having a cesarean will experience some kind of complication, including infection, extensive blood loss, even cardiac arrest. To help reverse this alarming trend, the Georgia Birth Network and the Atlanta Chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network are co-sponsoring a rally outside of Northside Hospital on May 16 from 2-4 pm. An information session will follow at Life University in Marietta from 5-8pm to educate the public about the risks of c-sections, and how to avoid them.
The rate of cesarean surgeries in the United States has risen steadily, from 20.7% in 1996, to 31.8% in 2007 according to the CDC. The rate for metro Atlanta is even higher – 35.1% in 2007. The World Health Organization recommends a cesarean rate of 10-15% as optimal. The U.S. Healthy People 2010 goal is a 15.5% cesarean rate by next year. Some studies show the rate could safely be as low as 5%.
C-sections can save lives in emergencies, but when used for the wrong reasons, they expose mothers and their babies to unnecessary risk. After cesarean surgery, a mother is at a significantly higher risk of infection, extensive blood loss, nausea, vomiting, blood clots, and, in extreme cases, death. Mothers having a cesarean always require a longer hospital stay, need 2-6 times as much healing time, and are twice as likely to be re-admitted to the hospital for complications. A newborn delivered by cesarean has a higher risk of being injured during delivery or having trouble breastfeeding. Many will spend time in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit for breathing problems, which may continue into childhood as asthma.
Additional problems may arise years later. In subsequent pregnancies, there is a greater risk of placenta problems, uterine rupture, and other complications, putting both mom and her future babies at higher risk. Over 90% of women who have a cesarean will have this surgery for every following birth. Risks to the mother increase dramatically with each cesarean.
To help women avoid these risks, the Atlanta chapter of the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) and the Georgia Birth Network are co-sponsoring a cesarean awareness rally, “Cutting Through The Fear.” The rally will be on Johnson Ferry Rd. at the entrance of Northside Hospital on May 16 from 2-4pm. Each participant will receive a free t-shirt, to be worn at the rally. The general public is welcome to participate, but please leave small children home because of the proximity to a busy road.
An information session and discussion will follow at Life University (1377 Barclay Circle, in Room 127 of Annex C) in Marietta from 5-8 pm. Elaine Mills, president of the GA chapter of ICAN, will speak on how to prevent cesareans, a birth film will be shown, and local childbirth professionals will be available to answer questions. Families are welcome at the information session, with food available. For more information about cesarean risks and prevention, please contact either GBN at 678-264-4944 or www.gabirthnetwork.com or ICAN of Atlanta at 404-609-9873 or http://atlanta.ican-online.org.
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