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When C-Section Incision or Abdominal Pain Won't Go Away

I have deeply personal reasons for caring about (caring for) women in the preparation for and recovery from cesarean sections—I have had three. I know this has the potential to be a volatile issue and frankly is not the fire I’m looking to stir up.

The first was not elective, the second and third were, all three children are healthy. As is their mother. Moving on.

Making lemonade from the situation, I actively managed my recovery from each, and one key component of this (one component of many!) was incision care and scar mobilization. There are predictable phases of healing when tissues in our body are injured. These can be used to determine a timeline for how to touch or move or stretch your incision, starting with protecting it from disruption in the earliest days to exposing it to increasing levels of stretch and stress as weeks and months pass. When implemented according to these phases of healing, scars are more likely to be stronger, more flexible, and not an ongoing source of pain.

This has happily been the case in my own experience, where my scar is not a source of trouble or discomfort. It was also a testament to the benefits of scar mobilization when my obstetrician helped deliver my second and third children and provided a teaching moment to the residents: “You’ll appreciate the minimal amount of scar tissue present; far less than is typically seen in a repeat cesarean. (After the residents ooo-ed and ahhh-ed in agreement, she went on...) Jessica told me she used self scar mobilization techniques in her healing after each delivery. I have talked about this with a number of patients since and it seems to be very helpful in preventing post c-section scar pain and decreasing excessive scar tissue formation.”

Sadly, many women continue to experience pain after c-section for months following childbirth, if not longer. I absolutely love a post that Jennifer Gunter, MD, an OB/GYN and pain medicine physician, wrote on this recently talking about the causes for such pain and suggestions for management.

Read Dr. Gunter’s piece on post c-section pain here.

Dr. Jennifer Gunter