A C-section scar is an amazing souvenir of pregnancy and gives one a feeling of pride and achievement. However, some women are worried on the cosmetic implications of the scar, and potential complications from the wound. However, it may be mentioned here that the scar is barely noticeable in most cases, and can slowly fade away with proper care and attention. Lets get to the basics now.
What Does A C-section Scar Look Like?
You will get the scar after routine cesarean section, which involves making an incision to get your baby out. The cesarean section scar is around 4 to 6 inch long horizontal or vertical line present below the belly button. Most C-sections are done with a horizontal incision, which is actually small and barely noticeable. As such, it poses no cosmetic threat, and only the skimpiest of bikinis may reveal it. A vertical incision is made in rare and emergency conditions only.
C-Section Scar Care After The Delivery
After every cesarean section a woman is monitored intricately for first 24 hours in order to ensure that she doesn’t develop any alarming symptoms. Pain killers, antibiotics and multivitamins are administered to better her condition. Ambulation is encouraged after 24 hours as it expedites the process of healing. However, you should get out of your bed and walk only if you feel that the numbing medications have worn off. Usually the hospital stay lasts for 4 to 7 days and post operative instructions are advised. Information is also imparted regarding complications and what alarming signs should be watched for. Before you leave the hospital, a paper tape-like product known as Steri-Strips will be made to cover your site of incision. They come off on their own after a week or so, and you will be told strictly not to mess with them. In the early days, about two weeks after delivery, you will be advised not to lift anything heavy other than your baby so as not to disrupt the healing process. You can take a bath with the tape on, though soaking is not recommeded. Use only warm water to clean the area and avoid soad and never scrub the region. In case you notive reddening, bleeding or puss at the incision, of run a fever, seek your doctor’s appointment immediately.
Is A C-section Scar Painful?
Initially mild to moderate pain is present around the scar line but this fades off with the passage of time. The pain is dull in nature, usually stretching or pricking sensations are experienced. Postural changes, standing up straight, lifting the baby or anything else could be potential pain triggers. Pain relieving medicines and gentle walking can be helpful. The scar is a sensitive one, and it may be painful to lift the baby or walk straight because of decrease in the support of the back from the abdominal muscles. You can ask your doctor to prescribe you pain relief medications that are safe even when you are breastfeeding. Slowly the scar will heal and you will not feel any pain.
C-section Scar Itching And Burning
As the scar begins to heal you will notice itching and slight burning around the affected area. This is normal and there is no need to panic. Your doctor can give you some medications to decrease the itching. Aloe-vera gel can also help. Try to keep your scar moisturized and do not rub it against tight clothes.
C-section Scar Tissue Lump
The scar usually heals within 6 weeks and you can resume your pre-surgery activities. Initially the scar integrity remains intact but you will see a reddish-purpleish coloration that will lasts for 6-7 months. Sometimes keloid-raised area might be present. The true cause of its origin is unknown; however some kind of hyper reaction of healing process is responsible for keloid formation or outgrowing of scar beyond the natural boundaries.
C-section Scar Adhesions Symptoms
Abdominal surgeries are often related with adhesions and are quite frequent with C-section. Adhesions are formed by bands of underlying scar tissue and help to bind the abdominal tissues and organs. Scar tissue does not pose any threat unless it adheres to internal organs and result in severe complications such as bowel blockage. With c-sections it’s very common to have an adhesion on your colon, ovary or between your bladder and uterus. The common symptoms of adhesions are discomfort and pain and these are not a regular feature. However, in the event of lower back and pelvic pain that appears to bother you more than it should, it would be wise to take the opinion of your caregiver. Massaging a C-section scare has been known to be beneficial as it helps in the scar tissue to lie down.
C-section Scar Cream
Nowadays the advancing scientific developments have made a variety of scar diminishing or fading creams accessible. These creams should be applied as soon as your scar has externally healed. The main ingredient of these creams is silver sulfadiazine. ‘Fade out’, ‘no scars’, ‘no marks’ etc are few to name in the long list of such scar creams. You can try creams with vitamin E or over-the-counter creams having cocoa butter in an effort to reduce the appearance of your scar, however, please keep your expectations real. No sciemtific studies back the effect of these creams on the appearance of the scar. Also, if you are breastfeeding, do exercise caution.
10 Tips For Speedy C-section Scar Healing
It is very important to take good care of your baby as well as yourself after getting discharged from the hospital.
- Avoid too much rest: Do not rest for too long as excessive resting will make you tired. Walk for 5 to 10 minutes as it increases blood circulation and speeds up the recovery process. Increase you walk span day by day. It will keep constipation, pneumonia and blood clots at an arm’s length
- Say ‘no’ to strenuous work: Strenuous work like jogging, weight lifting, bicycle riding and aerobic exercises should be strictly avoided unless your doctor recommends you. Shun the sit ups or any exercises where your belly suffers the pressure
- Support your abdomen: Hold your abdomen when you have to cough or sneeze. Stand and walk carefully and use a good posture. Coughing puts pressure on the incision and can even cause its rupture. While coughing hold a pillow against the incision line as this will support the belly and will also lessen the associated pain
- Shower: Shower is allowed but make sure you keep the dab dry the incision line after you are done with shower. Do not rub soapy water against the incision line instead allow the water to drip down. Hygiene also assumes a very important part in a speedy c–section scar healing
- Bleeding: Some amount of vaginal bleeding is present, even if you have a c-section. This is absolutely normal. You should not use tampons or douche. However, sanitary pads can be much safer and make sure you change them every few hours for hygiene reasons
- Getting back to work: If you are a working woman, wait till 6 weeks post surgery and seek doctor’s advice before resuming work again- especially if it involves standing up for long hours
- Sexual relations: Normally sex should be avoided for at least 6 to 8 weeks till the scar is fully healed. Your apprehensions on sex life after delivery have been answered here
- Eat well: Take balanced healthy diet rich in micronutrients and minerals. Take fresh fruits and green vegetables. Milk should be included in your daily diet plan. If you experience any digestive ailments, take low fat and bland diet such as plain rice, toast, broiled chicken, fresh yoghurt, etc
- Drink plenty of water: Take plenty of fluids as it relives passage of stools and checks constipation. Water will also help you produce ample breast milk and expedite the healing process. Initially there will be little problem in your regular bowel movements. That’s perfectly fine and normal after abdominal surgery. If you notice constipation for a couple of days ask your doctor for a mild laxative
- Ask for pain relief medications: A heating pad, pain relieving drugs like ibuprofen, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or other medications to relieve pain will be prescribed by your doctor. Not to worry, the doctor will prescribe the medicines that are safe for breastfeeding mothers. However, refrain from popping in OTC medications unless prescribed by the doctor
Read about C section bleeding and breastfeeding here.
Have a speedy recovery and a wonderful motherhood.