Want to how to help your C-section scar healing?
Where you’re still pregnant or have a planned C-section booked, it’s best to prepare before?
Even with the best intentions of a vaginal birth, you may end up needing an emergency cesarean.
Now I don’t really need to tell you how little time you’re gonna have with a new baby right?
That means less time to browse the internet for awesome articles like this. Plus pretty much neglecting yourself to care for your little bundle of joy.
This guide is for all pregnant moms, to prepare for a C-section postpartum. You can also check out my guide to caring for vaginal stitches after birth.
First, we’ll talk about caring for your wound, products you should stock up on and any questions you may have.
Ready? Let’s do this.
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C-Section Scar Healing Care Guide
1. Personal Hygiene
This one is a ‘basic’ step, but one which that’s easy for you to forget. Baby brain and all that!
I can’t stress how important hand washing is after birth. Your body is so exposed to infection, especially after surgery.
Plus you’ll be dealing with lots of baby poop, vomit and warm milk, which bacteria love. Your hands get dirty pretty quickly as a new mom.
Simple, regular handwashing is a must. Alcohol hand sanitizers are a great way to keep your hands sanitary too.
Caring for your C-section car can be daunting, especially when it’s new. Check out these tips to help your C-section wound to heal fast.
Once the nurses remove your wound dressing, you’ll need to wash your scar daily.
It’s normal to have a postpartum belly overhang, which rests directly on your c-section wound. That creates a crevice that gets warm and sweaty and idea for bacteria.
I’d highly recommend using a mild soap or salted water until your scar heals.
The wound doesn’t need scrubbed, mainly since it will be tender. Try to use a soft facecloth which is only for your C-section wound to prevent the spread of bacteria.
You should also consider freshening up your wound through the day. This is important if you find the wound gets sweaty between washes.
After you wash, you need to make sure your wound is dry. Any damp skin is prone to bacteria.
It’s best to pat dry your wound with a soft towel. Rubbing hard will irritate your wound, and the fabric may catch on your stitches or staples.
A clean cotton t-shirt can be ideal for drying your wound. If your wound is too tender, dry it with a cold blast from your hairdryer.
After drying, try to give your wound time to air dry to promote healing.
There are lots of treatments that can be used to promote wound healing.
Honestly, I’d wait at least a week after birth to start using these types of products.
You need to give your body time to heal the wound naturally. Putting products directly on your wound in the early days may irritate and slow the healing process.
Your wound will be covered by a sterile dressing up to a week. Once this is removed your wound is then left to heal alone.
If you struggle to keep your wound dry or protected when the dressing is off I recommend using wound pads. Preferably sterile wound pads that you change regularly.
You simply place them over your scar for protection, comfort, and hygiene.
The first thing you need to do is opt for underwear that’s suitable for c-sections.
You can opt for big pants that cover over the top of your scar. The other option is low cut panties that cradle under your scar.
The best choice is down you your personal preference for underwear. Remember the underwear you choose must be suitable to hold a maternity pad for a few weeks.
Remember I said to let your wound air dry as much as possible? Well, when you do have to wear clothes its best to make them ideal for your wound.
Opt for loose-fitting clothes that don’t put pressure on your wound and allow air to circulate to your wound. These will help you keep cool and dry, especially if you suffer from the dreaded postpartum sweats.
Smooth materials such as jersey or cotton are ideal to prevent your stitches or staple form snagging on the material.
A nightgown may be more suitable for bedtime, to prevent pajama bottoms from rubbing over your wound as you sleep.
Movement after a C-section can be a big issue. You’re sore and to put it bluntly feel like your inside are about to fall out. These tips will help your C-section recovery as a new mom.
It’s essential you get regular rest after your C-section. More so if you labored a long time before an emergency cesarean. Your body needs to recover and heal your wound.
Moving around with your C-section wound can be scary and sore. Try to move around as soon as possible after delivery. Staying in bed too long can make you feel stiff and sore.
Movement is especially important after surgery to improve your circulation and prevent you from getting a blood clot.
Caring for baby
A section can make caring for your baby so much harder. Ask for help with lifting heavy equipment such as strollers or baby tubs.
There are two products I recommend for C-section moms to recover better. The first is a co-sleeping crib for easier night feeds without lots of bending. The second is a nursing pillow to protect your wound as you feed your baby, whether your breast or bottle feeding.
You will not be able to drive your car for 6 weeks after a C-section, due to insurance reasons. When you do travel via car take care when using a seat belt. The belt will cover over your scar area. Any sudden stops can make the belt dig into your tummy.
I recommend using a folded hand towel over the lap belt to provide a small area of cushioning. That way if you do get into an accident the towel won’t affect the function of the seat belt.
It’s best to wait until your postnatal check up to resume any pre-pregnancy levels of exercise. Gentle exercise such as walking, swimming or yoga is recommended once your scar heals.
Remember to stop and seek advice if you notice any pain or scar concerns while exercising.
You can start to do pelvic floor exercises as soon as you feel ready after delivery.
Although they’re common, it’s easy to forget that a C-section is major surgery for you. These C-section scar healing tips will help you get some relief during your postpartum recovery.
Your doctor should prescribe you strong painkillers for pain relief after your C-section. My advice is to take them regularly in the first few days.
Yes, there will be times feel ok without them. But all it takes is a few hours of doing more to bring you severe discomfort.
If you can take it, I’d advise regular Advil to keep swelling down.
If you prefer to go a more natural route for recovery, homeopathic remedies may help. Just make sure they do not interfere with any prescribed medication.
Some great homeopathic C-section remedies include:
A common homeopathic remedy used for bruising and wound healing. You can take these as capsules or use in gel form and rub over your C-section scar.
I’d advise you to wait to use this after you’ve finished any course of anti-clotting medication as they may interact.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera Gel is a great remedy to prevent itchy and swelling. Just like arnica, it can be used to rub over the scar wound.
Staphysagria capsules are excellent for surgical healing. It may also help with postpartum depression caused by birth trauma.
Calendula is perfect for C-section recovery as it’s antiseptic and promotes wound healing. It’s ideal if you want to prevent wound infection.
Using thermal therapy is an age-old remedy to promote recovery and healing. The best way to do it after a C-section is with a thermal pad. This is how it can help you:
Cold therapy can be great for those first few days after a C-section. The cold helps to reduce swelling over your wound and provide relief from itchy wound healing.
Cold can also help reduce your postpartum sweats and prevent bacteria from growing near your wound.
Heat therapy can be great for long-term aches and pains from your C-section. Once the initial pain subsides, you may start to notice more muscular aches from delivery.
A warm pad or bath can encourage blood flow to your wound and promote healing.
4. Seeking Advice
Your caregiver should give your wound care advice and a follow-up plan before you go home with your baby.
Once your wound dressing is off, it best to check your C-section scar daily. You can do this as you wash it down. Try to have a look in good light and use a mirror if it’s difficult to see.
Sign to look out for on your wound are:
- Severe redness, heat or swelling
- Oozing pus
- Areas extremely painful to touch
- Offensive smells
- Unhealed areas or ‘gaps.’
Also, monitor how you are feeling physically. Flu-like symptoms indicate you have an infection. Check my article for postpartum warning signs to keep you safe.
If you do notice any of these signs get a medical review immediately. It’s likely your wound needs to be examined and treated for infection with antibiotics.
Don’t put this off as postpartum infection can make you severely ill within a short period.
It’s important you attend any postpartum follow up after birth.
Depending on the type of closure you had, this may be a few days after birth to remove stitches or staples.
You can discuss any ongoing issues with your C-section scar with your doctor.
It’s an ACOG recommendation for you to have a check-up at 3 weeks postpartum with a further check-up at 12 weeks post delivery
8 C-section care products
These are products I recommend you stock up on to promote good C-section scar healing postpartum. These postpartum products will help keep you comfortable and help your recovery.
Protecting your C-section scar is essential after your wound dressing is removed. The aim of the game is to keep your underwear line off your C-section wound.
The problem is most regular underwear sits right where your C-section wound will be.
You want good quality underwear that will handle maternity pads and won’t pull on your stitches.
Once your baby is born your belly will look a little like a deflated balloon.
As your skin goes back to normal, it can create a little mom pooch. The excess skin hand over your C-section wound. Mix that in with the postpartum sweats, and it can be difficult to keep your wound dry.
I highly recommend sterile tummy pads. They also protect your wound if you’re nervous about anything banging your tummy as it heals.
These are great if you’re overweight or have a lot of loose skin from previous pregnancies or weight loss.
Preventing infection in your C-section wound is essential for fast healing.
I always recommend C-section moms have a soft face cloth which is used only for wound cleaning. Trust me you’ll use it a few times a day in the first weeks.
That means no sharing with the family or using on using it on the rest of your body.
It cuts sown on your risk of passing bacteria into your wound. Plus a nice soft washcloth, like these ones, will prevent your stitches being irritated, pulled or snagged when you wash.
Your C-section can leave you feeling swollen, bruised and achey.
I’ve discussed the benefits of thermal therapy for C-section recovery above. Having a thermal pack to hand is a great natural way to help your healing.
You’ll more than get your money’s worth with these thermal packs. They’re a great addition to your first aid kit as a new parent.
Not only will you be recovering from birth but also surgery too. The best way to aid you healing is to eat a healthy diet.
But let’s be realistic, you’re a new parent, and you’ll probably grab a few cookies between your 20th cup of coffee each day.
A good vitamin supplement can help you to get your recommend daily nutrients. You know for those days you choose a 20-minute nap over cooking a meal.
The appearance of your C-section scar will depend on your genetics and the surgeon’s skill.
Once your wound has healed you may want to aid the appearance with a scar cream.
These creams can provide moisture to your healing skin layers, to reduce the appearance of your scar.
Feeing your baby can be a bit of a nightmare when you have a C-section wound.
Your tummy is so tender, and you need to rest your baby on top of it.
I recommended all C-section moms get a nursing pillow, whether you choose to breastfeed or formula feed.
The pillow will cover a cushioned area over your tummy to support your baby and protect your wound.
A favourite of C-section moms is a postpartum girdle.
These can provide a lot of support for your tummy muscles that feel like your insides will fall out weak.
I wouldn’t recommend using one until your scar has healed to allow for airing and good circulation to your wound.
C-section Scar Healing FAQ
How long will it take my C-section scar to heal?
You C-section wound should be fully healed by 6 weeks after birth.
Usually, stitches or staples can be removed from 5 days after birth. Your wound should remain closed after they are removed.
Unfortunately, some moms may never have a fully healed wound and may suffer ongoing wound issues.
If you feel your wound isn’t feeling well discuss this with your doctor. You may be referred for further treatment to heal your C-section wound.
Why is My C-section scar itchy?
It’s common for surgery wounds to itch as they begin to heal. It’s caused by cut nerve endings and your body forming the scar.
Pubic shaving before the surgery can result in irritation as the hair grows back.
Make sure it’s not your clothes, detergent or toiletries that are irritating. Keep a close eye on your wound for signs of bacterial or thrush infection.
To ease the discomfort try using ice packs, soap-free body wash or a hypoallergenic moisturizer.
Try not to itch the wound as this can lead to slow healing.
My C-section scar is smelly, is that normal?
Your wound area may smell a little sweaty (like a tummy button smell) if you don’t wash it regularly.
If you are sweating a lot, you may need to wash it more than once a day. A quick wipe with mild soap and water will do.
If your wound smells really foul, it needs to be checked by medical staff immediately. This is a sign of infection, and most likely you’ll need to be treated with antibiotics.
My C-section scar feels Numb
Unfortunately, the numb scar feeling is normal after a C-section. Your nerve ending in this area are cut during the surgery causing this sensation.
You may eventually regain the sensation around your scar. However, you may also suffer permanent sensation loss around your wound.
If you are worried about your healing process discuss it with your doctor during your postpartum review.
What will my C-section scar look like when it heals?
This will depend on the type of incision your surgeon makes during delivery.
The most common is a lower uterine C-section. This will leave a thin scar around 6 inches long. The scar will be just on your bikini line where your underwear band rests.
A vertical scar will leave a thin scar around 4-6 along. The scar will go from below your belly button to your bikini line.
Rarely a combination of the both will be required. This will leave an inverted T shape scar on your lower tummy.
You may want to discuss what your doctor’s surgical preference is during one of your visits. That way you’ll know what to expect should your require a cesarean birth.
Birth recovery is hard, never mind throwing surgical recovery into the mix.
Being prepared to look after a C-section scar can speed up your postpartum recovery.
This guide will help equip you with the knowledge to speed up your C-section scar healing.
Follow this advice, and you’ll give your body the best start to motherhood.