Caesarean sections are on the rise. In some parts of the world, they accounts for up to half of all births, while in the UK, one in four of us will give birth this way.
Dealing with a newborn and your own recovery is no easy feat. The NHS advise women take a break from; driving, exercising, carrying heavy items and sex for six weeks after surgery.
An often-overlooked part of this recovery is looking after your c-section scar. To help better understand how to manage the process, we’ve interviewed Emma Brockwell, an amazing women's physiotherapist from Pelvic Roar to get her top tips and advice on the subject.
A c-section scar can range from 10-20cm long, sitting just above your bikini line. Sometimes this is a result of medical intervention, other times it’s elective or planned.
A caesarean is major surgery, typically cutting through your abdomen and uterus. As such, it can take a number of weeks to fully heal, but women can assist their recovery with a few lifestyle changes, and self-care. One of these is paying attention to the c-section scar with gentle massage.
As with most surgery, a c-section scar will benefit from massage to promote healing and mobility.
Once the wound has healed and your GP confirms it’s ok in your six-week check-up should you start massaging the scar tissue daily.
Emma has helped numerous women manage postoperative recovery, here’s her TOP TIPS:
When can you start?
"I normally recommend commencing scar massage on a c- section scar anytime from 3 weeks so long as the incision has healed well, is scab free and shows no sign of infection."
How often can you massage?
"I advise carrying out scar massage for 5-10 minutes every day, in bed when lying down and relaxed is a nice time to do this."
Should it be sore?
"Scars can be painful and often the skin sensation around a scar feels altered or numb. Initially scar massage may be a little uncomfortable but if painful that is often a sign that you are massaging too deeply. Scar massage is great at reducing pain, reducing numbness and adhesion (which can affect the organs below the scar), improving muscle imbalance and promoting collagen remodeling"
Levels of pressure to apply
"From 3-6 weeks apply gentle pressure around the scar in circular clockwise directions. Avoid the actual scar."
"Once the scar is 6 weeks old and healed, place one hand on the pubic bone, gently pulling down on the skin. With the other hand use 2 fingers above your scar, applying deep pressure, and draw small circles from right to left on the scar. Repeat this below the scar and directly on top of it."
What about older scars?
"It is never too late to massage scar tissue and the benefits can be amazing. Scar tissue massage will desensitise the scar, improve the movement and therefore the tightness of the tissue and in doing so improve muscle recruitment around the area. Scar tissue can affect the organs below it and impact on their mobility. By moving the scar you are also nurturing the organs below. It should be considered a fundamental component of c section rehabilitation and is one that all womens health physiotherapist advocate for women as part of their postnatal journey."
I recommend NESSA’s Scar Saviour
"Nessa Scar Saviour is a beautiful product. It is 100% natural, organic and contains turmeric, liquorice and marshmallow roots which help reduce inflammation and help restore vital skin function. It is also rich in oils and butters which help minimise the appearance, colour and texture of scars naturally, accelerating scar recovery. I recommend it to all of my ladies who have had a c section - it’s a beautiful product which I highly recommend."
Check out more from Emma at Pelvic Roar
Photo from instagram @happymermaid