Prepare for Birth? You can with ICAN.

This evening I had the privilege of attending and speaking at our local ICAN of Athens meeting here in northeast Georgia. I joined forces with registered dietitian Marion Boyd, and we talked about prenatal eating and exercise. I’ll share more about that next week, but first, I wanted to put in a plug for ICAN.

The short version: If you’re pregnant, check out an ICAN meeting!

I’d been meaning to attend one of their meetings for quite some time, and my schedule, intentions, and ambition just never seemed to line up. So I was grateful for the invitation to join the meeting tonight. Here’s what I heard and appreciated about ICAN:

Most importantly, ICAN isn’t just for women who’ve had Cesarean section births. I think it’s easy to get that impression. The women of ICAN are passionate about helping all expectant mothers experience vaginal birth and –for those who want it– normal (unmedicated) birth.

ICAN is for all Women

The co-chapter leaders of ICAN of Athens, Rebecca Quintana and Rachel Bainum, have both experienced Cesarean  births, and both were deeply moved by the support they received from the Atlanta chapter of ICAN. That support inspired them to create the Athens chapter. They wanted to make sure that women pursuing vaginal birth after Cesarean (VBAC)—along with women who are seeking support and knowledge about how to avoid a Cesarean birth altogether—would have help locally, rather than having to drive an hour or more to attend a meeting.

The stories and experiences of the women attending the meeting tonight were diverse. Among the 10 of us, we numbered:

  • 3 expectant mamas
  • 2 first-time moms-to-be
  • 5 women who’d experienced one or more Cesarean births
  • 5 doulas
  • 2 lactation consultants
  • 2 childbirth educators

Oh, and 1 rockin’ dad! (Any dad who will show up at a prenatal event of any sort with his partner is a rockin’ dad in my book!!)

Creating Birth Community

When I teach prenatal yoga, I marvel at the way moms naturally create community and support each other by sharing information, asking questions of each other, and validating each others’ experience. I saw that in action at the ICAN meeting tonight, and it’s so inspiring to see this available and at work in my community. Moms-to-be were taking notes from their experienced birthing sisters. Second-time (and beyond) moms were nodding in recognition as they heard stories that resonated with their own.  And everyone was excited about birth—how I love to see that replacing the fear and doubt that too often surrounds birth. Go moms! Thanks ICAN!

How has ICAN helped you?


The International Cesarean Network, Inc. (ICAN) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve maternal-child health by preventing unnecessary cesareans through education, providing support for cesearean recovery, and promoting vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC). For information about local ICAN chapters and events, check the ICAN website.

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