Saturday, March 28, 2009

ICAN Conference in Atlanta in April

Just wanted to mention the International Cesarean Awareness Network's conference, which is being held in Atlanta, Georgia, April 24-26, 2009, at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel.

You can find a description of many of the sessions here, and a schedule of your choices here. You can register for the conference here. (If you register before April 3rd, you avoid the late registration fee!)

Speakers include:
  • Dr. Sarah Buckley (Australian doctor and author of Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering)

  • Pam England (midwife and author of Birthing From Within)

  • Joni Nichols (midwife living in Mexico and helping to run a progressive birth center there)

  • Eugene Declercq (professor of maternal and child health and Assistant Dean for Doctoral Education at Boston University School of Public Health)

  • Dr. Stacey Kerr (doctor and author of Homebirth in the Hospital)

  • Steve Buonaugurio (father and filmmaker of Pregnant in America)

  • Susan Jenkins (Legal Counsel for The Big Push for Midwives Campaign)

  • Ruth Ancheta (author of The VBAC Sourcebook and The Labor Progress Handbook)

  • Susan Hodges (founder and president of Citizens for Midwifery)
Here are some of the sessions readers might be interested in.

Maternal Mortality and Morbidity in the US (Eugene Declercq)

Eugene Declercq, one of the most impassioned and forthright advocates for improving mother baby health in the USA, breaks down the numbers and gets to the heart of why and how the United States is failing mothers and babies so miserably. Declercq makes it easy to understand the numbers and energizes birth activists towards our goal of providing evidence-based care to all.

Undisturbed Birth: Mother Nature's recipe for safety, ease, and ecstasy (Sarah Buckley)

Australian family physician and homebirth mother of four Sarah J Buckley MD brings her celebrated blend of science and wisdom, explaining in this lecture how the "ecstatic hormones of undisturbed birth" (oxytocin, beta-endorphin, epinephrine and norepinephrine and prolactin) are designed to enhance ease, pleasure and safety for mother and baby through labor, birth and beyond. She also explores how common obstetric interventions -- epidurals, Pitocin, cesareans and even close observation of mother and baby -- interfere with this delicate hormonal orchestration, and can compromise ease and pleasure, and sometimes safety, for mother and baby.

Birth as a Hero's Journey (Pam England)

The hero’s (or heroine’s) journey is so deeply engrained in human psyche, every one resonates with it. Many women spend years, sometimes a life-time, feeling victimized and judged by what they experienced in childbirth. These wounded women seek to make sense of what happened and to find their way home, the final phase of the hero’s journey. When mothers, both expectant and postpartum, identify with the hero’s journey, their birth story and their lives change.

Healing the Wounds of Birth (Sandy Jones)

Giving birth can be deeply fulfilling, but it can also be profoundly wounding -- especially when a mother feels robbed of her birth experiences by an unexpected intervention or distressing outcome. This session sheds light on the emotional pain and loss experience of an unanticipated birth event, its effects on mother-baby and couple bonds, and it explores potential avenues for healing.

Respectful Cesarean (Joni Nichols)

When a cesarean becomes necessary, this sacred moment must still be considered a family-centered celebration. The physical wound is hard enough...we don’t need to leave emotionally wounded women in their wake! How can we achieve this? We need a calm and tranquil atmosphere in the operating room, a mother-to-be with the person (or people!) she wishes at her side, immediate physical contact between mother and baby, continued contact during the remainder of the surgery, and a desire and attitude on the part of the professionals present to be of service to the new family. Think this is impossible? Come and see where these ideas have become realities.

Pregnant Fathers In America (Steve Buonaugurio )

Buonagario will discuss the role of fathers during the birth of their child, how men impact their wives' birth experiences, and how men can be active in creating birth experiences for their wives that empower them.

The Role of the Father in Preventing Cesarean (Rose St. John )

Fathers, once banned from birthing, now thrust into the role of “coach”, are so often put into a situation that inevitably leads to feelings of frustration or failure. Rose St. John uses her experience assisting couples to find their way to a better birth, and addresses the other half of the birthing team and his unique needs. Fathers, partners, mothers and anyone else involved with birthing couples will gain helpful tools to use at births.

Homebirth in the Hospital (Stacey Kerr, MD)

As a physician with strong roots in midwifery, Dr. Kerr is a passionate advocate for childbirth practices that are not only safe but also empowering. Although homebirth is a viable option for many, there are women who do not want to deliver their babies in their own homes. But why should these women be given the message that their bodies are not to be trusted? Can't they birth a baby without unnecessary medical technology and interventions?

Empowering Girls and Women to Love Themselves Promotes Healthy Birth Practices (Pam Chubbuck)

Due to medical, societal, and psychological forces, women are losing their natural ability to give birth joyfully. Women’s self-confidence is eroding as fast and as much as they are told that all childbirth is dangerous enough that it must be regulated by medical procedures all the time. This discussion will cover what happens psychologically/physically during the formative years to stunt girls’ energy to be themselves, what happens to literally change their bodies – so they do not have the energy to do what nature intended - to grow to be women powerful beyond measure, healthy, self confident and wise. Preparing girls to be strong healthy women is foremost in preventing disempowering experiences later on in life. We will also discuss how to heal after negative experiences, and inspire women to start teaching their daughters to be healthy NOW.

There are many other great sessions too; in the interests of space we won't list them all here, but there are many other choices as well. In particular, there are a number of sessions on recovering emotionally after a difficult or traumatic birth, as well as on the politics of birth and birth choices. This conference has something for everyone, whether you are a mom, dad, doctor, midwife, childbirth educator, or doula.

If you are in the Atlanta area, this would be a conference well worth checking out. Even if you are not in the Atlanta area, this is a very worthwhile experience. People come from all over North America (including Canada and Mexico) to ICAN conferences, and sometimes from all over the world. It can be a very powerful experience for attendees, whatever walk of life they come from.

*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.

ICAN recently published the VBAC Ban Survey, which found that nearly 50% of American hospitals do not allow access to Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), and is working hard to change this.

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