Impactful Tweets (pt 1) from ICAN 2011 Conference

I’m taking a break from my “Emotional Clutter” post that I’ve been working on.  Ahhh, nice to take a breather from that topic.  My friend, L, pointed me to as the best hashtag (#) reader out there.  And well, she would know!

So, I’ve been reading the #ICAN2011 channel and want to share some of the tweets that I’ve seen that should make an impact on VBACtivists as we do our important work!  (Since I’m pulling this content from a public channel, I am not asking permission to repost.  I will remove tweets if the OP requests.)

@DeepSouthDoula: [Macones] Be patient and keep working on us (OBs). Things will get better but it will take time. #ICAN2011
This is encouraging to read.  Other tweets indicate that consumers should be addressing hospital administrators.  However, from personal experience I can tell you that our hospital’s CEO said he can’t make the OBs change.  It’s easy for folks to displace and deflect in this business.

@Preparing4Birth: VBAC candidacy – low vertical incision 98% are this type. 1 or 2 prior ces should have access. Birthweight not a predictor. #ICAN2011
I read another tweet that indicated he supports VBA2+C but that it takes the right patient with the right provider in the right hospital.  I’ve also read that the steepest increase in rupture rates is between 1 (.5%) and 2 (1%) cesareans and then begins to level out.

@Unnecesarean: Macones: We’ve all focused so long on uterine rupture but need to also focus on the consequences of multiple cesareans #ICAN2011

@babydickey: We are underestimating the risks of multiple c-sections. #ICAN2011
A great site for weighing the risks of VBAC and repeat cesarean is Childbirth Connection.  Also have a look at the NIH VBAC Consensus.

@ShannonMitchell: When vbac rates CAN be 60-80% Don’t ask me to wait for ten years for a 20% rate #ican2011 #birthaction
I love me some Shannon.  She’s absolutely right, so we all need to get off of our duffs and DO SOMETHING!  Or do MORE!!

@ Unnecesarean: Macones: If hospitals can’t respond to emergencies, they probably don’t have any business doing obstetrics. (attributed to Landon) #ICAN2011
This is a very important point and should be addressed any time a facility with a maternity ward imposes a VBAC ban.  People who live in towns with VBAC bans in place should write letters to the paper, picket the hospital, and set up an on-line petition at the very least.  The average family doesn’t know that a facility that can’t handle a VBAC is unsafe for childbirth.

@ShannonMitchell: From 30 to 32% is 40,000 cesareans #ican2011 #birthaction
Wow, 30-32% is not nearly as offensive as knowing that 40,000 more women were cut open . . . many (most?) unnecessarily!  And other tweets indicate that the 40K cuts refer to the increase from 32-32.9% (our current national cesarean rate).  If that’s the case, how is that not perceived as a national crisis????

@tiffrobyn: Dr Macones: ECV, CVS testing, carry 1-2% risk, greater than vbac. #ICAN2011
Tests and procedures (including cesareans) that OBs may offer are sometimes riskier than what they refuse to do (attend VBAC).  I will say that I’ve never been offered an amnio, ECV, or CVS even at my advanced maternal age. 😉

More later, I am certain . . .


ICAN Advocacy Project

Here is something that ICAN’s Advocacy Director is asking the membership to accomplish – find out the status of VBAC in hospitals across the country.

Gretchen of “Birth Matters” writes:

The VBAC ban project is finally up and running! What is this you ask? Well, simply put, we are going to call every hospital in the U.S. and find out what their policy is on VBAC. The International Cesarean Awareness Network did this a few years back and found out that over 300 hospitals officially “ban” VBAC (even though this is patently illegal). Needless to say, we are sure the situation is much worse now. But, the cool thing is that ICAN is about to launch a fantastic new website and included on that website is a map of the U.S. upon which every one of the hospitals we call will appear….with information about that hospital and its policies on VBAC. AND, there will be a way for anyone to leave feedback about that hospital, so you can see what other women experienced there. But, in order for this to happen, we need people to call! So if you are interested in helping out, please email me at and I’ll get you set up and going.

Help ICAN shine the light into the oppression that so many hospitals are inflicting on women.

For those of us in Montana, it looks like the MHA website can be of assistance, especially their map and their contact list

ICAN Member Drafts Petition in Response to VBAC Ban

Women with previous cesarean scars may not be allowed to have a vaginal birth at hospitals in Montana.  Vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) has been shown to be safe, and in most cases it is appropriate for a women who desires a VBAC to undergo a trial of labor. [1]

St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena is one hospital in the state that has put a VBAC ban in place.  This of course violates patients’ rights and human rights, as no one can be forced into unnecessary medical procedures and surgeries.  West Houston Medical Center tried to put a VBAC ban in place, but due to a large response to this petition as well as timely media coverage, the ban was reversed.  Rather, it seems as though hospital administrators back-pedaled their way to “allowing” VBACs. 

One ICAN member in Helena has created a petition to garner support for reversing the VBAC ban in Helena.  I urge you to support this petition even if you don’t feel this affects you directly.  Support this petition because women’s rights are being violated.  Babies’ rights are being violated.  Support this petition because no one should be forced to undergo major surgery.  Support this petition because you support a person’s right to choose what’s best for him/herself and his/her family.  Support this petition to send a message to other hospitals in Montana that don’t allow VBACs, who are thinking about banning VBACs, or who by practice discourage VBAC.  Montana’s state VBAC rate is about 1%, which demonstrates how difficult it can be to have a successful VBAC in a hospital setting.

Click here to find the petition and add your name in support.

Thank you for your consideration!

[1] See Landon et al, “Maternal and Perinatal Outcomes Associated with a Trial of Labor after Prior Cesarean Delivery,” NEJM (December 16, 2004).

I am the decider

I hate to quote our current president, but it makes for a catchy title.


You can tell the OB that:

  1. I can’t be cut against my will.  (In other words, VBAC bans are bogus.)
  2. I don’t have to have a heplock or IV upon entrance to the hospital.
  3. I don’t have to show up for a scheduled cesarean that I did not request.
  4. My baby doesn’t need continuous fetal monitoring.  (Continuous fetal monitoring does not improve outcomes.)
  5. Sometimes babies take longer than mothers, fathers, family members, friends, and doctors would like.  That’s life.  Deal with it – you can eat, sleep, and play golf later.
  6. Women don’t necessarily need to birth babies in hospitals.  (There are other options!)
  7. Most women could safely birth their babies at home (and escape unnecessary medical intervention).
  8. That the immediate availability of an obstetrician or anesthesiologist does not improve the outcomes for the overwhelming majority of mothers and babies.
  9. That hospitals without 24-hour surgical staff aren’t safe for anyone.
  10. That the risk of rupture in VBAC is equal to or less than the risk of complications from cesarean “delivery”.

Want to learn more about positive mother-child-centered birth?  Visit the International Cesarean Awareness Network (ICAN) or the links posted on this site.

VBAC Ban in Houston of all places?

I can’t believe my eyes . . . and in the huge cosmopolitan giant of the South.  West Houston Medical Center is planning to disallow (as if they have any right to do so) VBACs!!!!

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION in support of women who wish to VBAC at this hospital.  As I stated in my signature to the petition,

The evidence (scientific, that is) shows that low-risk women should always be encouraged to VBAC, and that when they receive support from loved ones and their care providers, the majority will go on to successfully birth vaginally.

Thank you for this consideration.  And thank you to ICAN of Houston for fighting this!