Thursday, February 07, 2008

ICAN's new website

Advocacy Group Unveils New Web site

Site features easy navigation, community resources

REDONDO BEACH, CA, February 7, 2008 – The International Cesarean Awareness Network launches a new, user-friendly Web site today in an effort to further the group's outreach efforts.

"The new Web site will make an impact in the battle against the growing cesarean statistics by providing information to moms, challenging them to take responsibility for their births and will give women the tools they need to make educated decisions about their births – because this isn't about statistics. It's about every mom and every baby getting the safest birth possible."

Easy navigation is a key feature of this Web site, which has been in the works since July when ICAN Board Members recognized the need for a more user-friendly Web site. (The Web site can be found at Site viewers will find information separated into five categories: Pregnancy, Recovery, VBAC, Advocacy and Community.

"In our daily advocacy work, we saw a clear mandate for a site that as simple to navigate, simple to understand and full of easy-to-access information for the woman avoiding a cesarean, recovering from a cesarean or on her journey to VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)," Laureen Hudson, ICAN Publications Director said. "ICAN interacts with women on very different journeys -- the messages a pregnant woman needs to hear to avoid a cesarean are not the same
messages a woman on the journey to VBAC needs to hear. We like to think that this site addresses those two complimentary, yet divergent, needs."

The Web 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 via the Web site with the women ICAN serves. Further, the Web site features a new logo – the logo, and all of the Web work, were completed entirely by volunteers.

"We wanted our site to be easy for the average woman recovering from surgery and caring for a newborn to find the info they needed quickly and easily," Webmaster Melissa Collins said. "One of my favorite features is the online social community that is safe for moms planning a VBAC or just wanting to avoid. I'm really excited to watch this new community grow."

This new Web site comes after research in 2007 by the National Center for Health Statistics showed the cesarean rate reaching a record high of 31.1 percent. 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 a 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."

Mission statement: 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.


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