Caring for your Caesarean section scar
While statistics show that 76% of births, across both public and private hospitals in South Africa, are by Caesarean section, there is very little information available about how best to care for a Caesarean “cut” to minimise scarring. Here is some scar management advice.
Whether your Caesarean is planned or not, it is advisable to manage your expectations of your scar beforehand. Should the Caesarean birth be elective, it is advisable to discuss your cut with your gynaecologist. According to plastic surgeons, the optimal cut should be low, horizontal and along the natural body lines, in order to make the scar least noticeable.
0 to 6 weeks post Caesarean:
During the first 6 weeks post-surgery, the focus naturally moves to your new baby. However, it is important to remember to avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise (walking is fine); refrain from sexual intercourse until after the 6-week check-up; and shower rather than bath, to prevent infection.
It is very important to eat healthily during this time (especially foods rich in vitamin C and zinc) and drink plenty of water. Besides assisting your overall recovery, this will also help promote wound healing and skin renewal. Smoking should be avoided entirely.
6 weeks onwards:
Provided the gynaecologist gives the all clear at your 6-week check-up, your Caesar cut will be entering the maturation phase, a process that can take up to 2 years to complete. It is at this point that you can start taping and massaging your scar to ensure it matures as a thin, faded line.
Experts recommend taping with micro-pore tape as this supports the skin, reducing stress around the wound and thereby lessening the scar tissue that forms. Plastic surgeon Dr Dirk Lazarus recommends taping for up to a year after the birth of your baby.
- Taping a scar will help support and flatten it. Apply a wide Micropore™ tape along the scar. Use a flesh coloured tape if you want it to be less visible.
- Leave the tape on for up to five days - you can bath, shower and swim as normal.
- Change the tape once it starts to peel off.
- Massage the scar with tissue oil whenever the tape is removed and changed. Gentle massage can improve moisture and increase blood flow in the area, and maintain scar elasticity.
- Place a few drops of tissue oil on top of the tape daily; as it is porous, the tape will absorb the oil.
- Regular, continued use of an oil such as Bio-Oil provides the best results.
*Fedhealth, February 2012
How have you cared for your Caesarean section scar? Share your tips and tricks by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.