Everything You Want to Know About C-Section Scars

  Photo by  Daan Stevens  on  Unsplash
Photo by Daan Stevens  on Unsplash

You’ve experienced birth through a caesarean. You may have left the maternity ward with plenty of unanswered questions regarding your c-section scar. You now have a scar just above your pubic area, and you need to know how to care for it.

Do I need to use a special type of soap to wash my incision?

While any soap is fine, an antibacterial soap may be recommended during the first few weeks post-surgery. A favorite among OB-Gyns is Safeguard Bar Soap. This inexpensive soap can be found at your local Target, CVS or Walgreens, usually in a bulk box.

As an added bonus, if you’re breastfeeding, antibacterial soaps like Safeguard can ward off mastitis–a flu-like infection caused by bacteria transferring between baby’s mouth and mother’s breast.

As hard as it can be, c-section mamas especially, need to make sure they’re getting a shower once a day to properly clean their incision in order to prevent infection.

Can I still shave “down there” after a C-Section? 

To avoid infection, it’s best to wait 2-3 weeks after surgery before shaving near your incision site, but after that, if you want to, you certainly can! For a softer glide, use conditioner as your shaving cream. Let it sit for 1-2 minutes before gently gliding your razor across the scar.

If your skin is feeling dry or itchy after shaving, apply a natural oil like coconut or olive to moisturize the area. Coconut oil, in particular, is naturally antibacterial, so it will also help to eliminate the risk of infection. Do not use these oils until you’ve been cleared to use topical ointments by your doctor. This usually happens at your 6-week visit.

When can I remove the tape over my scar?

If you left the hospital with Steri-Strips (small, vertical strips of tape over your scar) you may be wondering when to remove them. Most doctors recommend waiting for them to fall off naturally. After 7-10 days of activity and showering, the strips should come loose on their own.

Sometimes, the strips do not loosen on their own. You look down and they’re still there 2-3 weeks after your surgery. If this happens, you can remove them on your own. If you’re squeamish about doing this, you can wait until your postpartum checkup at 6 weeks. There, you can have your doctor remove them.

What types of clothing will be most comfortable immediately after my C-Section?

For 4-8 weeks after your operation, you will want to avoid wearing anything that touches your incision site. Say goodbye to low rise jeans for now and bodycon dresses. Loose, flowy clothing that doesn’t sit too close to the body is ideal for this phase. If you need something more tailored, go for your high-waisted options since the waistband, belt or buttons won’t be disturbing your scar. Below are some recommendations for comfortable post c-section clothing.

  • Flowy Dresses
  • Loose Fitting Pants
  • Loose Fitting Tops
  • High-Waisted Pants
  • High-Waisted Skirts

How long will my C-Section Scar hurt?

You may continue to feel pain, burning, for up to 4 weeks after your surgery. If the pain is unbearable, talk to your doctor about effective pain medication. If possible, try to avoid habit-forming painkillers. Not only could these drugs lead to addiction or withdrawal, they can also cause severe constipation, exacerbating a problem many women naturally have postpartum. C-Section Moms are encouraged to take over-the-counter medicine like ibuprofen or Tylenol to make the pain more manageable.

If you’re still experiencing significant pain a month or more after giving birth, you’ll need to visit your doctor to be sure there are no underlying complications or infections.

How long will my C-Section Scar Be Visible?

You will most likely have a faint scar for the rest of your life. After 6 months, your scar should begin to fade, but it may never truly, completely disappear.

Some lucky Moms have a practically invisible scar 12-18 months after giving birth, but they are rare.

Is there any way I can reduce the appearance of my scar?

While there is no magical cream that will completely eliminate your scar, there are a few lotions available that will help its appearance fade. Do not use any topical ointments until your scar has completely healed. You’ll need to get approval from your doctor. Ask your OB if you’re clear to start using topicals at your 6-week postpartum check-up. Your doctor may even recommend waiting until 8 weeks after delivery before applying anything to your scar.

  • Vitamin E Oil is popular for scar healing and appearance reduction. You can find Vitamin E at your local health food stores and drugstores. Be sure to read the label as you want pure Vitamin E Oil. Many products labeled “Vitamin E” are primarily soybean or canola oil. Avoid those. You can also use Vitamin E capsules. Simply break them open and apply the liquid to your scar.
  • Mederma Scar Gel is an over-the-counter gel that helps reduce the appearance of scars. It can be found at Target, CVS, or your local pharmacy. It can take 4-6 weeks before any noticeable fading.
  • ScarAway Patches are silicone sheets that you wear over your scar. A box of ScarAway Scar Treatment Sheets offers an 8 week supply. It will take consistent, continued use for visible results.

If you’ve wondered how celebrities can step out baring all without a noticeable C-Section scar, the answer is non-surgical scar removal. A skilled plastic surgeon can perform keloid scar removal with a combination of cool laser and blue light treatments.

  • This procedure may be done monthly for 1-2 years (12-24 treatments in total). Each session takes 30-60 minutes.
  • The pain level is mild to moderate, varying by individual. It requires 1-2 days of downtime after each treatment.
  • A board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist must perform the procedure in a medical office. This is not something that can (or should) be done in a spa setting.
  • At $3,000-$9,000 the procedure is quite expensive.

 

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