Caesarean birth recovery requires a lot of patience and good knowledge of the right techniques to aid the healing process. This article will teach you everything you need to know about C-Section recovery and scar-massage.
It’s Day 5 with your new baby. You’re getting the hang of nursing, swaddling, changing diapers…But what about that big Caesarean incision right in the middle of your abdominals?
What do you do about THAT?
In Canada, most public perinatal care after a Caesarean birth is focused on infection prevention and external wound closure. HOW a birth parent is supposed to recover from this major abdominal surgery and return to pain-free living and fitness is generally not addressed.
So, let me tell you about something called “Caesarean birth scar massage”. This is the mobilization of your abdominal tissues, by YOU, with techniques appropriate to your stage of healing, with the purpose of minimizing scar tissue and adhesions.
In plain language, massaging your scar has been shown to:
- Decrease abdominal pain
- Improve the way your incision and abdominals look
- Prevent future injury when returning to activity and fitness
- Affect pelvic floor function, including painful sex
- Impact function of reproductive and digestive systems
The ideal window to perform scar massage techniques is 0-6 months postpartum. During this window, the scar tissue that holds your incisions together is pliable and capable of remodeling. Therefore, different techniques are appropriate depending on how much healing has occurred.
For example, did you know that Caesarean birth (C-section) incision healing can be treated as early as 0-6 weeks postpartum? While you wouldn’t directly massage the incision, there are quite a few indirect techniques that can be used to manage pain, swelling, and begin to optimize scar tissue formation. These include:
- Relearning proper spinal alignment
- Belly breathing
- Relearning transverse abdominis control (i.e. deep core muscles) combined with the above
- Abdominal desensitization techniques to decrease fear and apprehension with touching your incision
After 6 weeks postpartum, direct scar massage can begin as soon as your physician gives you the green light. Gentle, superficial techniques are introduced first; they are gradually progressed to affect deeper tissues and neighboring body parts. If you can learn these different techniques plus the appropriate exercises as you heal, your C-birth healing can be optimal.
After the 6 month mark, your incisional scar tissue will be “set”. But worry not! There is still plenty you can do to achieve further mobility for surrounding tissues, and make an impact on your pain even years after your C-birth. See your perinatal therapist and get an individualized strategy.
The “Caesarean Recovery Foundations” program is always open for enrollment. This online program includes lessons and videos for recovery 0-6 months postpartum. An innovative Flow Chart clearly outlines all scar massage techniques and exercises, and how/when to safely progress.
For more information, click here: Caesarean Recovery Course
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