I found this amazing visual video on you tube by Naturally Nurtured Birth Services and found this to be so great in understanding the depth of the incision. It really shows that it's not just the outside layer (skin) that has been cut. Watching this, I hope will give you a deeper understanding of why taking your time to recovery properly is important and how the holistic approach to c section recovery is vital to greater healing in the long term.
Here is an outline of the layers that a Cesarean Section cuts through.
Initial cuts (and the visible scar) are horizontal through:
Then the incisions are made vertically through:
Until you reach the baby.
You see, it’s really important to remember that whilst all we see as a lasting reminder of the Cesarean Section might be the most superficial incision at the skin level, it is really an elaborate corset of suturing, enabling all these layers to knit back together and heal. So it is not just the most superficial scar that needs to be included in the massage.
Often as a result of the C section, we can experience pain and tenderness in areas other than the scar itself. It is important to note that whilst massage can help in the manner in which scars develop and heal it will NOT prevent them from being visible. What is more important to understand are the lasting benefits that massage can help with beneath the scar.
If you experience any of the following then you need to start massaging your scar and surrounding areas;
pain during sex
clitoral and/or labial pain
feeling like you need to go to wee A LOT
numbness or tenderness around the scar
lumpy or hard spots over/around the scar
feeling of tightness or rigidity around the scar
pelvic pain, lower back pain, pain in the groin
you can’t feel your abdominals doing work!
struggling with infertility after a previous C-section
digestive troubles, IBS
It is important to remember that each mother is different therefore the healing process is very individual. The progress also depends on the degree of trauma she has suffered and the skill of the person carrying out the suturing. As a general guideline, it will take approximately 6-8 weeks for an incision to heal.
Once you have been given the all clear from your GP or midwife you can start gently massaging your stomach starting as far away from your scar as possible and working closer and closer as you begin to feel more comfortable. There is not pressure to start touching your scar immediately, go slow, take your time. Please also note, if you have had a c section a long time ago, it is never too late to start massaging your scar, breaking down those adhesion and helping your body restore its strength.