July 23, 2010


In May of 1981, forty women from the United States and Canada met in Boston for a conference with Nancy Wainer to discuss cesarean prevention and Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC). Their energy, enthusiasm, and dissatisfaction with the current medical obstetrical management of birth were profound. Under the direction of Esther Booth Zorn, this group of individuals joined with others to bring about the International Cesarean Awareness Network (originally known as CPM--the Cesarean Prevention Movement). The organization was officially established in June 1982 with the publication of its first newspaper, The Clarion. It soon became apparent that there was a need for a comprehensive, inspiring, and activating childbirth education program. Cathy Daub, PT, had designed and taught the first BirthWorks classes in 1981 in her home in New Jersey. She agreed to bring the BirthWorks program to ICAN and chaired the ICAN Education Committee, which developed BirthWorks into a national childbirth certification program. The BirthWorks manual was written and edited by the change makers in childbirth including Nancy Wainer, Doris Haire, Diony Young, Lynn Baptisti-Richards, Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, Gayle Peterson, Claudia Panuthos, Elizabeth Noble, Anne Frye, Cathy Daub, and others. A pilot program was run from 1985 - 1987. BirthWorks became a full certification program for childbirth education in 1988. In 1995 BirthWorks became an independent non-profit organization with a full Board of Directors. In 1998 BirthWorks developed a certification program for doulas. Today, the BWI Leadership Board, faculty, professional staff, and regional ambassadors are working together to ensure that all women have the opportunity to give birth with faith and dignity. BWI remains committed to VBAC support and education.

Current BWI Advisory Board:
Dr. Michel Odent
Susan Ludington, PhD,CNM
Kirsten Uvnas-Moberg MD, PhD
Mary Zwart
Heloisa Lessa, CNM
Jan Tritten
Henci Goer
Ina May Gaskin
Bethany Hayes, MD
Barbara Harper, RN
Marshal Klaus, MD
Lewis Mehl Madrona, MD
Jean Sutton
Suzanne Arms
Nancy Wainer
Ray DeVries
Phyllis Klaus, MFT, LCSW
Doris Haire
Elizabeth Davis

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