A Caesarean, or C-Section delivery is major abdominal surgery, involving surgical incision through 7 layers of tissue in order to deliver your newborn. Now, we don’t say this to scare you – more so that you can understand why it is important not to rush back into day-to-day activities as this area heals.
Following a Caesarean delivery, it is very important to ensure that the tissues recover as best as possible to reduce pain, tension or tugging that may occur down the track. For the first 6 weeks postpartum, this involves keeping the area clean and covered by a dressing or silicone cover as directed by your Obstetrician. Minimising any abdominal-based movements (such as sitting up in bed, heavy lifting, or overreaching especially in a twisted position) can also help the recovery. You may find it helpful to use external support in the form of SRC Recovery leggings or even a folded towel or cushion against the stomach when coughing/sneezing.
Most tissue healing takes place within 4-6 weeks, so by your 6-week check you may be able to start scar massage to assist in the healing process. Scar massage can reduce sensitivity, promote healing, and reduce unwanted adhesions from forming under the wound. Once full healing of the incision has happened, you can begin daily massage around and over the scar for best results. This blog aims to walk you through the benefits of this kind of massage – however we do recommend you only begin this after gaining clearance from your Obstetrician, Women’s Health GP, or Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist.
Scar pain can take some time to settle. Some signs of scar sensitivity include tenderness to touch, discomfort with pressure or contact with clothing, tugging or sharp pain with movement, or pain with stretching. Before beginning massage of the area, you may need to desensitise the skin by starting with a gentler pressure, such as a Q-tip or soft towel. Be patient, as it can take some time to improve your level of comfort with this.
Our Tips Before You Begin Scar Massage
- Be sure to pick a time when you will not be rushed
- Use a warm compress over the area or take a bath to help your body to relax and to soften the tissues and muscles around the scar
- You can do gentle stretches and belly breathing before beginning scar massage to help relax the stomach muscles and pelvic floor
- You can perform the massage yourself or have your partner help you
STOP IF: Your scar is open, bleeding, painful or showing signs of infection.
Ready to Begin? Here’s What To Do
- Choose a moisturiser or lubricant that is hydrating or specific for use on scars – we normally recommend Olive and Bee Intimate Cream, Strataderm or something similar
- Start by using gentle strokes around the scar, focussing on the tissues above and below the scar line. You should use a pressure that is firm enough to work into the tissue but not at a level that causes pain or discomfort
- Once ready, move towards the scar and rub gentle circles along the scar line. Pay extra attention to area that feel firm, lumpy or knotted
- Change the direction of pressure as you go: moving up and down, side to side, diagonally. This will ensure the tissue is able to be stretched in a variety of different directions
- Begin to work your pressure deeper into the stomach muscles, using pain as a guide. Don’t be too aggressive – work within your limits, even if it takes multiple sessions.
I said before, daily scar massage will produce the best results – aim for around 5-10 minutes each session. If you are worried about how to do this, or have questions please book for an appointment with us! If we have recommended for you to start scar massage, we will show you how to do so at your 6-week Postnatal Assessment and are more than happy to go over the process with you in following sessions.
(Pelvic Floor & Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist)
Female Physio Co.