A caesarean section literally has drastic consequences. We answer all questions and tell you how to best take care of your scar.
Let’s not kid ourselves: Nobody likes to have their stomach cut open voluntarily. Most pregnant women do not intend to have their babies by caesarean section.
But more and more are opting for it: According to the Federal Statistical Office, the number of deliveries by caesarean section in Germany has increased from 15.3% (1991) to 30.5% (2016) in recent years. Here you can find out why this is the case, what consequences it can have and how you take care of your scar.
What is a caesarean section?
During a caesarean section, the baby is not delivered vaginally through the birth canal, but under anesthesia with the help of an incision in the abdomen and uterus, which is then sutured or clamped like any surgical scar.
Why do you do a caesarean section?
There are a number of reasons why a caesarean section is recommended, for example if the child is breeched or the mother has gestational diabetes or intoxication (preeclampsia).
In addition to these medically indicated caesarean sections, the number of pregnant women who decide to have a cesarean section of their choice is growing, be it for fear of childbirth, a possible perineal incision associated with it or the later effects on sexuality.
You shouldn’t make a careless decision to have a cesarean section, because ultimately it is a serious abdominal operation with all possible risks.
In addition, there are possible complications with subsequent pregnancies, such as delayed regression of the uterus and scar healing disorders. But in the vast majority of cases everything is going well and the only immediate consequences are the caesarean scar.
Does a cesarean scar hurt?
We don’t want to gloss over anything, in the first few days after the caesarean section you have to expect pain in the scar area, especially when you move, walk, laugh, cough or sneeze. In order to observe the wound healing process and prevent inflammation, women usually stay in the hospital for about 4 to 6 days after a caesarean section.
How does the caesarean scar develop after childbirth?
Immediately after birth, the scar is a red, swollen wound, usually directly above the base of the pubic hair, which is covered with a sterile wound dressing.
After about a week, the threads can be pulled or the clamps released. After about 3 weeks, the scars are usually well healed on the surface, but the severed muscle fibers and nerves still need up to a year to completely regenerate.
What other consequences does the caesarean scar have?
Another consequence is a feeling of numbness in the scar area, which subsides over the months, but never completely disappears in some women. The scar usually itches in the first few months, but this is a good sign that the healing process is progressing.
“After the procedure, a scar about 10-20 centimeters long remains,” says Dr. med. Welf Prager, dermatologist at the Prager & Partner practice from Hamburg, “However, this also depends on the child’s body size. The scar does not always have to be that big, and of course it will look smaller in the years that follow as it fades important role.” And you can actively do something for that.
When do you start scar care?
As soon as the patch is ready to be removed from the scar, you can start scar care. “After the procedure, it is advisable to start scar treatment as soon as possible,” said Dr. Prague.
What means are there for the care of the caesarean scar?
In consultation with your operating theater doctor, there are various options to optimally support the healing process. “For good results and gentle treatment, I recommend my patients a kind of plaster that works on the scar overnight.”
- The Contractubex intensive patch , which contains ingredients such as onion extract and allantoin, has proven its worth . Cepalin or onion extract is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and prevents excessive scarring.
- Another option that is often used is the Dermatix Ultra Gel (from € 23.84) . The gel is based on silicone and helps against an itchy scar, has a pain-relieving effect and the scar becomes softer and more elastic.
- Coconut oil is a great alternative: the lauric acid contained in the oil has an antibacterial effect, protects the skin from germs and bacteria and gives the scar additional moisture.
How often should I put lotion on my scar?
If you want to use a patch with onion extract, apply it every night before you go to bed and remove it the next morning. This will prevent the formation of bulging scar tissue. You apply a silicone gel or a cream gently every morning and every evening.
“Scar care should take at least six months, as this is the time when the body is most busy healing muscles, fatty tissue and subcutaneous tissue. The creams are particularly supportive here,” explains the dermatologist.
When does the cesarean scar fade?
It will probably never go away completely. “You can expect the scar to be a little more red in the first six months after the procedure,” says Dr. Prager, “How well a caesarean scar heals is very individual. Factors such as age and health status play a role, but also how well the wound has been cared for. Regular application of cream and adequate care after the operation help the healing process.”
Can you laser cut the caesarean section?
That’s fine. “Laser cesarean section scars are routine treatments in good dermatological practices,” explains expert Dr. Prague. Treatment can begin four weeks after the caesarean section. The so-called fractionated CO2 laser is used during the procedure. Here the laser light is distributed over many small tissue areas, which has the advantage that the skin can heal much faster and cell renewal is stimulated.
The treatment takes a few minutes to a maximum of an hour and costs 150 euros per session, depending on the size of the scar. “On average, the patient who wants laser treatment comes to my practice four to eight times,” says Dr. Prague. “However, the first successes can already be seen after the first treatment.”
Is the laser scar associated with pain?
“The scar is numbed before the treatment. The laser can be uncomfortable, especially at the beginning, but it does not cause severe pain,” explains Dr. Prager, “In addition to the treatment with scar patches or creams, the laser treatment helps that the scar becomes softer and less noticeable.”
When can I do sports again after the caesarean section?
“In most cases, the scar area is sensitive in the first six months. However, the feeling diminishes over time, so that, after consulting the doctor, you can go back to exercise after the recovery course,” says our expert. Yoga, in particular, promotes scar healing as it stimulates blood circulation. This is great for strong connective tissue and breathing is also trained, which can have a positive effect on numbness.
Does it help massaging the scar?
“Under no circumstances should the scar be massaged because it stimulates the formation of new collagen. Collagen is important for our skin and gives it stability. However, the mechanical pressure on the area that has just been operated on disrupts the healing process, which can lead to hypertrophic or keloid scars.” warns Dr. Prague.
A keloid is a benign tumor caused by wound healing disorders that protrudes above the skin level. To avoid such a growth, you should only gently apply cream to the scar. Dr. Prager: “Particularly after the operation, great care should be taken not to put too much pressure on the scar.”
There are many ways to help a cesarean scar heal. The most important thing is that you give your body time to properly recover. He needs rest, especially after giving birth. Therefore: Approach the situation as relaxed as possible and stand by your caesarean section scar: it reminds you of the birth of your baby.