10 easy steps to care for your scar and feel better

Caesareans are often quite traumatic for moms and many of us will go through different stages, ranging from anger to sadness to self-loathing. Many women can’t even look at their scar, let alone touch it or let someone else touch it, but you actually need to “work” your scar, to take care of it. Good self-care will allow for proper healing, help you avoid pain and get to love your body again. Good care of your scar may also allow you to put more chances on your side for a successful VBAC. 

I was blessed to attend ICAN’s webinar on caesarean scar care with physiotherapist Isa Herrera. She just published an excellent book: “Ending Female Pain”, that you can find on the ICAN bookstore or order online at www.endingfemalepain.com
Too many women just bare with pains in their body they need no to have. Being responsible for a tiny person just makes you forget that your own well-being is also important. Happy babies need healthy and happy moms! Actually Dads would also argue that they prefer having a healthy, happy wife than one riddled with pain... 

I wanted to share 10 easy things to do to get back in shape, take charge of your body again, care for your scar and feel better:
  1.  Start moving as soon as possible: there is actually a good reason why nurses in the hospital try to get you to walk as soon as you can stand up. It helps blood circulate better around the surgery area and thus heal quicker. If you can’t walk, at least try to do some ankle pumps. I remember forcing myself to take walks after the surgery and it helped both with healing faster and getting a sense that I was in charge of my own body again.
  2. Take a look at your scar as soon as you can. You will have to learn to live with this new part of yourself, and after all your “special delivery” baby did come from there. Touch it and get to know it, it will later help with your own healing process.
  3.  Voice your feelings. It may sound cheesy but talking about how you feel about your scar may help you heal faster and feel better. Some women actually write poetry or paint or use any other means of expression to talk about
  4. Massage your scar! As soon as the staples are out and the steristrips have fallen off, and once your caregiver has given you the go-ahead, try massaging the scar and the area bellow and above with some oil. I love Burt’s Bees baby oil for that, they also have a lovely lemon and Vitamin E oil that works wonders. Isa Herrera also suggested rose oil, which sounded absolutely lovely. In her book she gives different ways to massage the scar and surrounding area to break up adhesions and restore fascia to their former state. Your physiotherapist can guide you in the best ways to massage the area but Isa de Herrera has some very simple massages you can do yourself.
  5. Try a Rebozo massage! This great technique actually makes you feel nurtured and helps restore flexibility and comfort.
  6. Wear a support belt during your postpartum period. It will help you get the proper support and alleviate some of the discomfort. This is something MDs never tell you but it is really, really important to support your abdominal region and back!
  7. Get some exercise! Once your care-giver has given you the go-ahead, start slowly but surely. Exercising will bring back oxygen to your muscles and help you get back in shape. Getting back in shape actually really helps to heal and helps you feel better about your body and about yourself. Don’t forget it may take you some time to regain your pre-pregnancy shape, it took you nine months to put on your weight so it may take as much time to lose it and that’s perfectly OK. Being a mom is really a full-time job, so it may be hard to find even a few minutes to get some exercise in. I found attending Baby and me yoga classes was a great way to get started, it allowed me to have baby with me, get some stretches is and meet other moms! Swimming was also a great way to relax, get some exercise and spend time with baby in the water!
  8. Love your perineum: talk to your physiotherapist. Most women think that because they did not have a vaginal birth means they don’t need to check their perineum but actually everyone should! Sometimes, if you have pushed before having your c-section, your perineum may be stretched. Your physio will tell you where to work and how to properly do your Kegels to avoid prolapses, leaks and other problems that may occur later in your life. The physio will also show you how to massage your scar externally and internally to speed up recovery. I recently learned that most of us don’t properly do our Kegels, so it doesn’t hurt to get a physio to show you how to do them properly.
  9.  If you have any pain, talk to you care-provider or your physio. Pain is not something you should put up with, under any circumstances. Pain may also be an early warning sign that something has not healed properly. You need to understand that c-sections are major abdominal surgeries, so there is always a risk of not healing properly, of getting an infection or other complications. Staying attuned to what your body tells you may help you detect things early on and avoid complications down the road. Osteopaths and chiropractors can also help speed up recovery, both for you and baby. Babies can also go through a rough time during a c-section and some babies may experience head and neck pain, leading to difficulties in breastfeeding, sleeping or behavioural complications. An osteopath or a chiropractor can help by gentle manipulations.
  10. Love thyself! Don’t beat yourself up! Many of us feel bad after the c-section. Slow recovery and the fact it’s a bit harder to snap back into shape also sometimes make you feel really blue but remember you’re not alone. Get in touch with other women who have experienced the same thing, get support from the ICAN community and remember that whatever the circumstances of your c-section, you are an amazing woman and mom!

And for those other wonderful mamas who experienced vaginal birth, a lot of those steps actually work for you too, but you can also check out Son of Max's post-partum crotch care 101 post : hilarious but oh so useful!

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