International Cesarean Awareness Network

Northern Virginia Chapter

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About ICAN of Northern VA

The International Cesarean Awareness Network is a nonprofit organization founded in 1982. ICAN's mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesarean recovery, and promoting vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC).

As the Northern Virginia chapter, we support women in the Greater Washington DC area. We meet once a month in different locations in Northern Virginia and try to mix nighttime and weekend meetings to allow everyone the opportunity to attend. Meetings offer in-person support so each attendee can share stories of triumph or trauma with those who can understand or get advice.

Meetings are free and open to the public and we welcome moms, especially first-time moms, dads, caregivers, birth educators, grandparents, and anyone else who can offer support or advice to mothers who wish to avoid unnecessary c-sections, or heal from past experiences.

We do encourage frequent attendees to consider becoming members of the ICAN of NOVA chapter. Member dues pay for administrative costs, advocacy materials, and to send our group leaders to the annual ICAN conference. Learn more about the benefits of joining ICAN.

Our chapter leaders are volunteer moms who feel passionately about cesarean awareness and prevention. Learn more about them here.

As a nonprofit, we rely on your generosity to continue spreading the message and offering support. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to ICAN of Northern Virginia today!

ICAN's Vision Statement

A reduction in the cesarean rate driven by women assuming responsibility for their healthcare by making evidence-based, risk appropriate childbirth decisions.

Statement of Beliefs

We, the International Cesarean Awareness Network, believe that:

  1. The inappropriate over use of cesarean surgery is jeopardizing the lives of mothers and babies.
  2. When a cesarean is necessary, it can be a lifesaving technique for both mother and baby, and worth the risks involved.
  3. Birth is a normal physiological process. Research shows that with emotional support, education, and an honest opportunity, the vast majority of women can have a healthy vaginal birth.
  4. A healthy birth incorporates emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.
  5. Research shows that VBAC is reasonable and safe for both mother and baby. A repeat cesarean should never be considered routine– it is major abdominal surgery with many risks.
  6. It is unethical and unenforceable for hospitals to institute VBAC bans. Women have the right to refuse any procedure, including a cesarean.
  7. Women have the right to true informed consent and refusal, which entails full knowledge of the risks and benefits of all tests, drugs, and procedures.
  8. It is incumbent upon every care provider and institution to facilitate the informed consent process.
  9. Women must be allowed to express all their birth related feelings in a safe and supportive environment. The emotions of a pregnant and birthing woman have profound effects on the birth outcome and recovery.
  10. It is unethical for a physician to recommend and/or perform non-medically indicated cesareans (elective). Women are not being fully informed of the risks of this option in childbirth, and therefore make decisions based on cultural myth and fear surrounding childbirth.
  11. The trend of “elective cesareans” is being significantly overstated through distortion of research and data.
  12. We as women must now assume more responsibility for our own births.
  13. It is critical that women’s choice of care provider and location of birth is respected.

Mission, Vision, and Statement of beliefs from ICAN's website.

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