After getting care at the hospital after your C-section you may wonder...so
Today we will cover some basics of healing from your C-section.
According to the CDC, 31.7% of all births in 2019 were by cesarean section.
There are certain postpartum tips for optimum healing that if you have had
a cesarean section.
Most sources say 4-6 weeks. However it could take longer
to resume activities such as sex and strenuous exercise. It is always best
to talk to your healthcare provider when you go for your postpartum check
Here are some tips for what to do when you go home:
Keep it clean: Keep the scar clean.
Water alone without scrubbing is enough. If you have steri strips ( little
strips over your scar)- do not touch or peel them off. They well come off
on their own!
Keep it supported: Grab a pillow
and place over your belly and hug it whenever you need to cough or sneeze.
Keep it pain free: You may
experience pain from scar and/or pain from your uterus as it contracts
down. Acetaminophen or NSAIDS may be enough. However, you should speak to
your healthcare provider if you need more.
Keep moving: Although you can’t do
other types of exercises yet- walking is okay! Start small, maybe with
trips to the bathroom and a brief 10-minute walk around your home.
Keep away: Nothing inserted in your
vagina until you see your healthcare provider for follow up and get the go
ahead. That means no sex, no tampons, no douching. This is to prevent
infection in your uterus scar.
All of the above!
Walking can help decrease the chance of getting blood clots and the risk of
getting postpartum depression and anxiety. It also helps strengthen your
muscles and can increase your energy and your circulation. The improved
circulation can aid in healing of your c-section scar!
Remember to listen to your body! First few weeks you may
need to focus on recovery and rest. Walking can be going to get your baby
or going to the bathroom or a 5-minute walk inside your home.
Look out for signs of infection of the scar, especially
in the first few weeks home.
Redness or swelling of the c-section scar or the surrounding
Fever (higher than 100.4 Fahrenheit)
Oozing or drainage from the c-section scar
Foul smell from the area
Scar becomes hardened or you feel increasing pain around it
Your c-section scar splits open
If you experience any of these, always speak to a healthcare professional.
Although most c-section healing is complete by 3 months, for some mothers,
the pain continues. This is called chronic postsurgical pain.
Studies report that about 18% of women still had pain 3 months after their
By 12 months 7% of women had persistent pain after c-section.
This persistent pain can cause difficulty in daily life activities and
decrease quality of life. If you are experiencing this, you should talk to
your healthcare provider.
Yes! Though your C-section scar will fade on its own
over time, the following may help to improve the appearance :
Petroleum jelly- keeping the scar moist with petroleum
jelly may help from getting the scar too large, deep or itchy
Silicone sheets, gels or creams- may work best for raised scars
Massage your scar- gentle massage with cream few times a day for
Minimize sun exposure- for at least 6 months after
Remember to wait until skin is healed before using any of the
above and to always ask your healthcare provider before starting!
What is a C-section shelf?
It is basically a term coined to describe the pouch of loose skin that
rests on or just above your c-section scar. It occurs because of scar
tissue being stuck to your muscles , excess fat and loose skin hanging over
and separation of your abdominal muscles ( diastasis recti).
Some tips to help:
Do exercises to help diastasis recti (NOT sit ups or
Massage scar tissue to decrease adhesions
Healing after getting C-section takes time. Adequate pain control initially
is important to be able to move and take care of yourself and your new baby.
Speak to your healthcare provider if any concerns of infection, chronic
pain or scar healing.
MaternalWell text support is available for any general questions. If you
would like more personalized information, our pregnancy and postpartum
physical therapists are available for consultation.