C-Section Incision Pain

No matter how or why you came to have a c-section delivery, you will be dealing with your new baby, breastfeeding etc while you are in c-section  recovery. While the focus is ultimately on baby, cesarean delivery is major surgery and your incision is a wound and you will also be dealing with some degree of pain.

All wounds take time to heal, and care must be taken as they are healing. Like most wounds, there are varying degrees of pain and times it takes to heal for a c-section incision. The degree of pain varies from woman to woman, a lucky few feel little pain and others still feel pain years later. The c-section incision healing time is also personal and we will go into several reasons why.

The pain from c-section delivery is strongest in the days immediately after delivery, after all the incision goes through multiple body layers. In the hospital you will be given systemic pain killers, either administered every few hours, or from an IV that you control yourself. Being systemic and narcotic, they can leave you feeling a bit ‘out of it’, which can hinder connecting with your newborn. These strong painkillers can also lead to you doing more than you should straight after surgery when your wound is the most vulnerable.

One of the best things you can do to help with  both pain relief and supporting c-section recovery of your incision is wear a binder. We specifically designed our c-section recovery belt for use immediately after delivery. It is highly adjustable so you can find just the right degree of pressure for you, and for this reason it doesn’t contain elastic so you have complete control.

After the initial pain of the operation lessens and the incisions begins to heal, the pain becomes more like heat and itching. It is really important to not try and relieve this by scratching. Again there is no definitive time that these sensations will last, some women report heat, itching and small electrical like sensations years after their c-section. The electric like sensations are most likely nerves that were cut healing and growing again.

In these first weeks of c-section recovery, it is important to contact your doctor if there is any kind of bleeding or weeping from the incision, or if there is swelling, sudden onset of pain or fever.

Remember that the scar is much bigger than is visible on the surface, so many sensation will be on the inside. As the scar tissue forms inside it can create adhesions. Adhesions can lead to a multitude of post c-section problems , many of which can be avoided with appropriate care of your c-section scar.

A poll we have been running on the blog for some time has revealed that the vast majority of women don’t touch their scar, either because they thought they shouldn’t, it is numb or it hurts to touch, with just 6% saying they massage it to make it softer. In fact self massage of your c-section scar is one of the best things you can do to avoid complications from adhesions and make your scar soft and smooth.

This will be of particular benefit if you have more children. Many women report pain and discomfort in their c-section scar in later pregnancies as the belly grows. This is because untreated scar tissue is not flexible like skin and muscle and can make small tears inside as it is stretched by the growing baby.

Many women report occasional c-section scar pain during periods and usually this is associated with changes in hormonal levels and nothing to worry about

If you do experience c-section scar pain please read the adhesions article linked above to see if this may be the cause, especially if you feel pain with a pull between the scar (inside) and another part of the pelvis or lower back. And remember, it’s never too late to work on an old scar!

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  1. useful info. Thanks.

  2. This is my first csection 4th child and I’m not handling this well. I’m afraid to touch the site and it’s been 4 weeks 1 day.. It’s a bit numb but it hurts and it freaks me out to touch it so I just put a heating pad on the area for comfort. How long is the actual recovery time? I feel like it’s taking forever to feel better…

  3. thembi ntombela says:

    I did get help thhrough getting this information it very useful to me because the time i was reading this on my friend laptop as she was trying to help me i did try to follow on this info above and now i can have time with my baby and get the pain relieved on my scar and inside

    Thembi Ntombela
    Richards bay

  4. I had a complete radical hysterectomy 13 months ago and experience pain in my incision when I sneeze. Does that mean that I have adhesions?

  5. Interesting info

  6. Katie Marshall says:

    I don’t have a choice about having a c-section so I am trying to learn everything that I can. This was very helpful.

  7. Hi, I had unnecessary (as I find out later from my consultant) C-section 6 month ago because doctors were overcautious as I’ve been told…. Since the operation I am having very sharp stabbing pains in the scar area and the other lot of pains seems like pains in my bladder, as it’s very painful most of the time when I urinate. Again, they are very sharp and stabbing. Some times all the abdomen pains are so painful that it compares with strong labour pains. I’ve got burning sensation all the time too .After my first period those pains got worse and I even started to have painful cramps/period pains on top every day… Very often I do wake up at night as it’s so painful. I’ve been to my GP many many times, I’ve been tested for infections a few times, which came out negative. I had ultrasound done and they said that everything looked normal. My GP said that I should stop looking for reasons, but I can’t live with such a terrible pains. Could they be related with adhesions? I do have back pains too and honestly it feels like my whole body started to ache… Can CT scans show adhesions? Please, I would appreciate any advice on what should I do or what doctors should I be asking to see. I don’t know any medical terms and it makes it more difficult to ask to be seen by professionals as I don’t know who shall I ask for… Many many thanks in advance.

  8. csectionadmin says:

    Dear Ginta

    I hope you understand that we can’t give medical advice as we are not doctors. I would say that you need to find a doctor who takes your situation seriously, and to keep looking until you do.

    If you read these two articles you will find possible causes for your physical problems, you could print them out and show them to your doctor.

    Adhesions after C-Section

    C-Section Pain & Adhesions

    Wishing you all the best

  9. Angelica cornelio says:

    I had my first baby via c section on January 27,2013. My c section opened six days later. We packed from feb 2 to the last week of march. That last week when we stopped packin it started hurting from the inside. What I feel now is like hard in the area where we packed but in the inside also I feel like something pulling on my right hip. Or like its being pushed in any ideas what this could be? Oh I forgot to mention this hard mass I feel inside feels more prominent when I bend my right leg up or sit or lay on this side. I wish to find a solution to my problem as this is my first child and I’m only 26. I don’t want to live with this forever it’s painful and uncomfortable

  10. Wow- I am so sorry to hear this! Binding post surgery does help to reduce chances of incision opening! Massage is going to be your best friend for the next 6 months- every day……do you have our dvd? Thinking of you and many others who are not properly educated post cesarean!

  11. Please continue to massage your scar area all around your incision, check out our videos on you tube!

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