C section scars – more than a sun roof.
A C section scar often extends much deeper than what you see on the skins surface.
C- section scars go through many layers of abdominal tissue including nerves and blood vessels and can affect the function of the bladder, core muscle strength, pelvic floor muscle function and digestion.
C-section scars can contribute to abdominal, hip pelvic and low back pain.
Scaring is however natural and needed to allow healing. Every woman recovers differently and some will have no problems at all however many women may not realise that the scar maybe contributing to pain or dysfunction.
To maximise recovery, implement following things
- Gently massage the abdomen working the tissues above and below the scar. When the scar is healed, which may take 6 or more weeks gentle massage can begin on the scar itself. A dry massage often works best at freeing up tissues but you can use oil/cream.
- Begin Diaphragmatic breathing to assist with soft tissue mobility and re positioning the abdominal organs after pregnancy. This also assists the core muscle system to return to a more normal pattern of movement.
- Avoid constipation and straining during bowel motions to protect the healing scar.
- Avoid inactivity and prolonged sitting. Begin gentle exercise and gradually build up your tolerance. Avoid heavy lifting and high impact exercise in the first 6 – 12 weeks.
- Have an assessment with a women’s health physio who specialises in postnatal recovery to assess your scar, spinal, pelvic and hip movements and begin appropriate exercises to regain your core and pelvic floor muscle function.
Early intervention and awareness of how important scar management is on body function will optimise recovery from c section. In addition, strengthening postnatally the core and the abdominals will also optimise injury free postnatal return to sport and recreational activities as well as minimising pelvic girdle pain with subsequent pregnancies.