C-section scar healing

February 14

C-section scar healing

15 min read By Midwife Cathy Tabner

A Caesarean Section (C-section) is major surgery. The process of healing begins as soon as you leave the operating theatre but can still be ongoing at a cellular level for 1-2 years. Scar tissue forms after a C-section as your body lays healing fibres down to repair the incisions to your skin, fat, muscle and uterus. 

During the healing process, scar tissue may adhere to other tissues creating adhesions. These are bands of scar tissue that can tighten and constrain internal tissues. These are most common on the colon, ovaries or between your bladder and uterus. Scar tissue forms slowly and as it does it can be encouraged to form flatter by massaging the scar area.  

Why bother massaging your scar?

Many women say they were never told they could massage their scar. However, by using a simple technique it can help to reduce the appearance and increase the integrity of the scar. It can also help to prevent problems like fibrosed (hard) scar tissue forming under the skin. 

Regularly massaging your c-section scar can help with the following:

Bladder or bowel function may be affected in the years after you birth by C-Section. You may find you need to wee every 15-20 minutes, even though you just went. This can be due to scar tissue inhibiting the bladder as it tries to expand, it then sends signals to the brain saying you need to empty your bladder. Scar massage can help prevent this bladder problem forming. Similarly, the bowel can be affected with pain or problems when you need a poo after C-Sections and again massaging the scar can help.

Lower back pain can be caused when the C-Section scar tissue adheres directly in front of the bony part of the pelvis, as this is an area which needs to be able to move forwards and backwards. Tissue tightness from scar tissue build up can inhibit the sacrum (the bone at the back of the pelvis) from moving as freely as it needs to when we bend, twist, and walk, leading to lower back pain.

Pelvic pain and pain during intercourse can occur when the uterus and the vaginal tissue below are inhibited from moving as they should by tight scar tissue. By massaging your C-section scar, you can help the scar tissue to form flatter, which can help to stop it from encroaching on to the surrounding areas under the skin.

Appearance of scars can vary enormously. They can be raised, bumpy or ridged or they can be almost invisible. Health and nutrition will help the body heal, but massage can help make a difference, too. Massage helps to increase blood flow, which in turn is beneficial for healing. It reduces inflammation and helps smooth out a thicker scar.

Self-care and scar massage after C-section

Spending just 5 minutes a day at first is effective at releasing scar tissue and increasing mobility in your lower abdomen.

Think of this as vital body maintenance that you need to carry out regularly to optimise your health and wellbeing, both now and in the years ahead. Talk to your life partner about the need to factor some relaxation and massage time into your everyday. Having a bath before you start your scar massage can be part of your routine here. You can use our Soak for Bits which contains Epsom salts to help to relax the deep muscle fibres before you massage. Think about what would help you to relax during this time, it could be listening to music, a favourite podcast, watching Netflix or just silence.  

Always remember that your body has done an amazing thing and birthed a baby whilst undergoing major surgery. Your scar is a badge of honour to your stamina and strength and you need to nurture and care for this part of your body. Discuss the scar with your little ones if they are curious and tell them the story of your scar – so many of us birth this way now. Nearly 3 in 10 births in the UK are C-sections. Be proud of your body and scar, treat it well so you feel healed, healthy and happy in the years after your birth.