A cesarean section is a major surgery, and you'll have either a vertical or horizontal incision left from the procedure. The scar will need care to properly heal and to prevent infection, or worse, scarring. Talk to your doctor about the correct way to care for and cleanse your C-section incision to improve chances it will heal properly. Making sure your scar is well taken care of makes for better recovery at home once your baby arrives.
Follow all of your doctor's advice concerning activity after a C-section. Engaging in lifting, exercising or even walking before you are healed can open your incision and leave you susceptible to infection and pain. If your doctor admonishes you to rest before attempting to work, ask family members or friends to give you a hand during the first few weeks to make sure that your scar has enough time to heal.
Wash your scar in the shower, but avoid scrubbing or rubbing it. FamilyEducation.com recommends that you use an antibacterial soap to suds up your fingertips and spread the soap along the scar. Allow the soap to sit for a minute to kill any bacteria, then rinse gently.
Bandage your C-section scar if your doctor instructs you to do so. Most C-section scars will have started to heal before you even leave the hospital, and dressings are only necessary for the first week at home. Apply a thin layer of antibacterial ointment before placing fresh dressing on the scar. Your doctor may also have prescribed an ointment to use in place of an over-the-counter product.
Contact your obstetrician if your C-section scar opens, oozes pus or blood or begins to swell, the Mayo Clinic warns. These are all signs of infection and should be treated immediately. Make sure you go to all of your follow-up appointments, where your OB will examine your scar and let you know whether it is healing properly. Depending on how well your scar is healed, your doctor will also be able to clear you for physical activities such as exercise, housework and sex.
Exfoliate your scar gently when it has completely healed. This helps smooth out the puffy or raised nature of the scar so it is less noticeable over time. Most C-section scars are uterine and are cut low on the abdomen so they are hidden when wearing underwear or swimsuit bottoms, BabyCenter.com says.
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Work on your posture while walking and support your abdomen near the incision site when coughing, laughing, sneezing or doing other sudden movements that might jar the area around the incision.