Most c-sections are now done with a horizontal incision which is only around 6 inches long and about 1/8 inch wide. It is made just above the pubic hairline and cuts through skin, body fat, fascia, peritoneum and uterus.
In closing the wound the uterus is sewn with absorbable stitches as is the fascia except in cases where healing is likely to be slow when a permanent suture is used. The skin is closed with either staples, or dissolvable sutures and in some cases now glue.
In the beginning, the c-section scar will be somewhat raised, puffy, and darker than the surrounding skin. Within six weeks post delivery it will start to shrink significantly. As the incision site continues to heal, your scar will more closely match your skin color and will narrow to about 1/16 inch wide. It might be itchy while it’s healing, avoid the temptation to scratch. Many women however (38% in our ongoing poll) say the area of their incision is numb. Another 34% of our poll say they thought they shouldn’t touch their scar while 27% say it is too painful to touch.
As our poll shows the majority of c-section moms say they are afraid to touch their scar because it feels either numb or painful. It is a travesty that c-section moms are given no education in self care for their c-section scar and don’t touch it. In fact touching your abdomen after the surgery will help speed healing and reduce the size, feel and look of your scar. Touch stimulates the severed nerve endings and in time will bring back the feelings.
Just a few minutes a day of self massage helps your scar to heal. Because massaging softens the scar tissue it forms a flat, smooth scar. Massaging your c-section incision helps organize the scar tissue because it re-aligns the collagen fibers. In addition massage creates compression, increasing circulation and, stimulating the healing process.
Adhesions are a significant source of long term problems from abdominal surgery. They can be reduced or completely avoided by regular self massage of your c-section scar.
Avoiding touching your scar can result in a lumpy and discolored appearance. Lumps, chords, numb areas, and bladder issues, may mean adhesions are forming because of the collagen fibers remain disorganized in the scar tissue. Collagen fibers can be pictured as tiny sticks. When healthy they are organized and have symmetry, the incision latterly cuts through this and creates chaos. they need to be reorganized to recreate cohesion and full healing.
As you know from the description at the beginning, your actual scar goes deep into the body with only the surface visible. Being consistent with self massage and later dry skin brushing and the deeper you can penetrate the abdomen, the less likely problems from adhesions, and the softer the scar.
After Pregnancy and surgery, your abdomen has undergone enormous change, the more support it gets the faster and better it will heal. Massaging your c section scar, for even a few minutes a day, can have a huge benefit.
You can learn about tissue repair and how to help yourself avoid complications from the C-Section surgery from our self help Scar therapy guide which is now available on DVD and comes with every C-Section Recovery Kit.
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