Dealing with a C-section scar can raise many doubts among new mums. Does it hurt a lot? How can I take care of it? What precautions should I take?
If you are concerned about how a C-section scar can affect the early postpartum weeks and how to avoid any possible complications, don't miss the upcoming lines.
How do I take care of my C-section scar?
First and foremost, it's essential to take good care of the incision area, which will be covered with a big bandage to prevent the wound from bleeding. The health-care providers will check the bandage very often to make sure it isn't stained, which would imply that there's bleeding going on. They will also remove the bandage once in a while to let the C-section scar get some air, which is thought to speed the healing process.
Cleaning the wound doesn't pose problems, since it only takes for you to keep good hygiene; wash it with neutral body soap and then rinse it out with water. However, avoid rubbing the incision area when getting it dry... you need to be careful here!
What extra precautions should I take with my C-section scar?
Extra measures can be adopted to prevent C-section scars from worsening. For instance, take your time when putting on and taking off clothes, trying to minimise the contact between the fabric and the wound. In addition, avoid at all cost moving drastically... household chores can wait or, even better, Dad can be in charge of them if he isn't doing it yet! Doctors also recommend keeping a healthy and varied diet, which can provide you with necessary treatments to support the creation of healthy tissues. Don't pass up the chance to try topical creams with healing properties.
How will a C-section scar look like?
When undergoing a C-section, doctors can decide on a vertical or horizontal incision, though the latter is way more common and less noticeable later on. If you wonder how a C-section scar may look like past the healing process, you have to know that it depends; some women end up having bigger and raised C-section scars, which isn't that common, while most new mothers will keep a simple mark. However, there's a 'pattern' that can help you determine in which healing stage your wound is: first, it'll look reddish or pinkish for a few months, but step by step it should turn pale and feel flat, like a thin line.
Will my C-section scar prevent me from having a vaginal birth in the future?
If a C-section scar heals well, there shouldn't be any problems for you to have a vaginal birth in the future (VBAC). The new tissues created are generally strong enough to resist labour contractions, so it's very rare for C-section scars to tear, which is known as uterine rupture. Yet, that situation can be very dangerous for both you and your little one, because it causes a massive haemorrhage that needs to be stopped right away. Uterine ruptures are more associated with vertical incisions, and that's why these tend to be avoided.
Just so you know, women who need a C-section are more likely to suffer from placenta previa, a pregnancy complication that needs monitoring, if they decide to have another child.
What about the scar on the uterus?
A C-section scar on the uterus can also be vertical and horizontal, though, again, the second is the most usual one, especially on the lower segment of the uterus. Don't forget to talk to your surgeon about it, above all if you are planning on having a future vaginal birth (depending on the uterine incision, that may not be an option for you anymore!).
Will the doctor use the same scar in a future C-section?
If you happen to need another C-section, doctors are likely to carry out the new incision where the scar is. This helps them have a reference and also prevents you from having a second and unnecessary C-section scar. What's more, some women who aren't happy about their previous scars take advantage of this second procedure to get them fixed.
Does it normally hurt?
It's normal to feel pain and tightness in the affected area during the first weeks after birth. If you have trouble coping with it, you can ask your doctor for a treatment, which is often based on analgesics that are safe to take while nursing. It's possible that you also suffer from extra pain when a keloid, that is, overgrowth tissue, is formed out of your C-section scar.
Is itching normal?
Absolutely! Along with pain, itchiness is a natural symptom when any scar is healing, and the C-section scar isn't an exception. Even if it itches a lot, you should control yourself and avoid scratching it, because it's not a good idea to mess with stitches and an open wound. Apart from this, keep in mind that you may be very itchy because of your pubic hair growing back (it's shaved before undergoing surgery).
It's necessary to pay attention to how C-section scars look through the healing process. If you are in severe pain and your scar is swollen and red, you should contact your GP right away, because you could be having an infection.
No woman likes the idea of having and taking care of a C-section scar. However, there are times when there's no other way to get babies out of the womb, and you just have to accept it and do your best to minimise its effects by being cautious and a little disciplined. It may take a while but, sooner or later, the pain will be gone, your skin won't feel sensitive anymore and the scar won't look nearly as bad as it used to. Besides, it’s a small price to pay for your gorgeous baby!