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20th October 2022

3 C-Section Scar Healing Stages

Dr. Devan Patel, PharmD
3 C-Section Scar Healing Stages

Motherhood is one of the greatest joys of life but it’s not without its challenges. Pregnancy is beautiful but it is also incredibly strenuous on a woman’s body. Your body must grow an entire human being inside of your womb. 

Growing your baby requires your belly to stretch nearly 3 times its normal size to accommodate for your growing fetus. Sometimes your organs may even be displaced in the process. However, the most strenuous part of pregnancy is giving birth. 

While birth through the vaginal canal is the preferred and safest way to birth a baby, it’s not always an option for every mother. A C-section (cesarean section) is a sometimes necessary and life-saving procedure to bring a newborn into the world. 

A C-section is a surgical procedure that removes a newborn from a mother’s womb by making an incision in her lower belly. The surgery inevitably leaves a long scar across the lower belly. 

 

How Fast Do C-Section Scars Heal?

A woman’s C-section scar is a mark of motherhood and nothing to be ashamed of, but many mothers would rather it not be there. A typical C-section scar measures 4-6 inches in length and will start out as pink or red and puffy, much like any other scar. Over time, your scar will flatten and either remain pink or turn a silvery white (like stretch marks). 

How long and how well your C-section scar heals depends on your genetics, how large your scar is, and how well you care for it during recovery. Your C-section incision should be healed after about 6-8 weeks post-surgery. After this time, you will likely be able to resume your normal activities like exercising or lifting heavy things. 


What To Expect During the 3 Healing Stages of Your C-Section Scar

After your C-section, you should expect your scar to be sore for at least two to three weeks. During this time, your scar will be in one of the 3 stages of healing. Like with any injury or surgical wound, your body begins the healing process as soon as the incision is made. 

Below are the 3 stages of C-section scar healing and what to expect during each one. 

 

1. Inflammatory Stage:

The inflammatory stage lasts for the first 2-3 days after your C-section. Your body promotes the inflammatory response around the open wound to protect it from infection. This is when your white blood cells will gather at the wound site and produce a swollen, red or pink appearance. You may experience some itching, pain, and stinging during this stage. 

 

2. Proliferative Stage:

The proliferative stage starts after inflammation and will last for the next 3-4 weeks. During this stage of healing, your collagen stores will begin working on strengthening the skin around the wound site. Your body will form new blood vessels and your scar will change color and become thicker. 

 

3. Remodeling Stage:

The third and final stage of wound healing is remodeling. This stage can last well up to a year. This is when your body rebuilds and repairs the skin tissue around your wound site. In this final stage, you should expect to see your C-section scar flatten and fade in color. 


What Is the Best Way To Care for Your C-Section Scar?

The best way to care for your C-section scar is to take steps to keep it safe from infection. First, follow all the directions given to you by your doctor or surgeon. They know best how to take care of your wound, don’t forget any of their wound care tips. 

Next, make sure you keep your wound clean. Protect your bandages from getting wet and dirty. Change them frequently if they do (or as frequently as your doctor instructs you to). 

Keep the wound itself clean as well by letting warm water run over it and using a gentle soap to clean around the edges. 

Never scrub directly on the wound itself as that could disturb your stitches and make your wound worse. Also, never remove steri strips. Wait for your doctor to do it themselves or wait for their instruction to do it yourself. 

 

How Can You Minimize C-Section Scarring?

While you may not be able to make your C-section scar disappear completely, there are steps you can take to minimize how noticeable it is. Below are some tips for minimizing the appearance of your C-section scar before, during, and after your procedure. 


Get Your Vitamins

There are many nutrients that play a major role in the wound healing and scar formation process. It’s imperative you get enough of these nutrients to heal faster and more effectively. A multi-nutrient supplement like WoundVite includes over 20 different vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements backed by science for their effectiveness in wound healing.*

Taking a supplement like WoundVite may be effective both before (if you have a planned C-section) and during your C-section recovery.* These key nutrients will support your healing while providing your skin with the necessary elements to repair and rebuild itself more effectively.*

 

Massage Your Scar

Gently massaging the area around your scar (once it’s fully healed) will help loosen the skin and muscle which may reduce puckering at the wound site. 

 

Stay Out of the Sun

The sun’s powerful UV rays are harmful to skin tissue, especially scar tissue. Having your scar exposed to the sun will cause it to darken and be more noticeable. If you must be in the sun, be sure to use a strong SPF to keep your scar protected. 


Use Silicone Strips

Silicone gel strips have been used in scar therapy for over 30 years. Silicone strips may help your scar fade or flatten, thus reducing its appearance. 

 

The Bottom Line

Recovering from a C-section is no small feat. Your body did something amazing and you should feel proud. Your C-section scar is nothing to be ashamed of but it’s understandably a concern for many women. 

By taking the right steps to care for your scar during every stage of healing, you will recover more quickly and possibly minimize your C-section scar’s appearance.

 

 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.