May 11, 2008,
N.R. asks from Glendale, CA on May 09, 2008
Nerve Pain and Swelling After C-section
I had a c-section back in December and had a lot of problems with my incision...leaking fluid, infection, then a yeast infection. All of that cleared up and it all seemed fine. Now...almost 5 months later...the area is still incredibly tender above the incision. It's worse than it was a few months ago. I tend to think it's just the nerves kind of growing back together or something like that. Also, the whole bottom part of my stomach has grown rather large and poochy since giving birth. I only gained 17 pounds and lost it all within two weeks...plus I carried really high. Now I've gained back a few pounds (from sitting around the house during 4 months of maternity leave!) but it's not enough to have this now hanging stomach. So I feel like maybe it's swelling in the area.
I was just wondering if any other mamas have experienced anything like this post-partum and how long before things feel normal again. OR...if this sounds like something could be wrong and I should go see the OB. Thanks!
L.C. answers from Los Angeles on May 11, 2008
I'm a plastic surgeon and I see a lot of weird stuff - and this sounds a little weird. The incision pain - does the incision look normal? Is the scar red or raised? Is the area above the scar numb? A lot of people have a loose stomach after pregnancy, and I dare say, pooching and some fat. If it bulges a lot in the lower part and actually gets worse when you lie flat and try to do a sit up, you may also have a rectus diastasis, where your muscles are split from the pregnancy. This usually improves for up to a year after pregnancy though so I don't advise you do too much about it. Anyway, feel free to pick my brain about this - I have my own two babies, now 1 and three, and I can tell you that it does take a while to bounce back!
J.S. answers from Seattle on May 10, 2008
Yeah, I agree with the others. See your doctor. I tend to think that increased tenderness is an infection. My C-section was 2 1/2 years ago, but the pain got steadily better as I healed. It's normal to still have some pain, but not tenderness.
The paunch may just be a result of weaker, stretched out muscles from pregnancy- but you're right that it could be swelling, which is another reason to see your doc.
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B.M. answers from San Francisco on May 09, 2008
I had a c-section in August and my swelling was gone by about the third month. The majority of the pain was gone as well and although it's sensitive/tender if pushed just so, it's totally fine. I didn't have any of the fluid leaking that you're talking about- absolutely nothing. So, based on my oh-so-limited experience, I would definitely go see your OB. Good luck!
S.M. answers from Los Angeles on May 09, 2008
I too had a c-section with my daughter. I too have bit of a pouch above the scar and felt a tugging at that area for a long time. I did not feel 'right' again until recently(almost 3yrs after her birth). I sought lots of alternative care-acupuncture mostly- because the OB kept telling me that the numbness, tightness and scarring was 'normal'. But I thought differently and finally got my body back after extended acupuncture treatments. That said I would still seek your OB's opinion as to your current condition. I hope this helps you. Congratulations on your new son.
L.E. answers from Los Angeles on May 10, 2008
I've had two c-sections, one almost 22 months ago and the other 7 months ago. My abdomen gradually hurt less and less after each c-section, although I still experience some tenderness in the lower abdomen. I have a brown band of skin above my incision as a result of an allergic reaction to tincture of benzoine, a chemical used to make the bandages applied after suturing adhere better. I also have a "kangaroo pouch" although I am virtually back to my normal weight, 112 lbs, at 5'3" tall. I gained twice what you did, though.
Talk to your doctor. He or she might think of something that will make you feel better.
H.P. answers from Los Angeles on May 10, 2008
I have had 2 C-Sections, one 4 years ago, the other at the end of December. My first one sounds similar to yours as I had leaking fluid. Every once and a while, the area became tender, but in time, things will go back to normal. If you are really concerned, it is worth talking to your OB. Also, I want to add that Verdugo Hills Hospital has a class every Tuesday morning at 9:30(mommies and babies attend), and the instructor there could probably give you some insight on what to do, or may know of other similar cases so she can instruct you on what to do. The class generally ends between 11-11:30.
Maybe we will see you there sometime! It's a wonderful class.
K.I. answers from Los Angeles on May 09, 2008
My daughter is now fourteen months, and the incision itself is still a bit tender. Sometimes the area around the incision feels tender as well. For MONTHS after the c-section, I felt "poochy" and "puffy" - with some very tender areas and some numb areas (isn't the recovery great?). At my 6 month post-partum appointment (which I didn't get to until 8 months) the doctor told me it was still normal at that point.
That being said, although it seemed slow, things did get better and better as the months went on. I never felt as though things were getting worse, or that my stomach was getting bigger, as you say you're experiencing. I would call your ob and tell her/him your symptoms, just to be sure.
Congratulations on your little boy! Motherhood is the best- and it only gets better :-)
K.J. answers from Los Angeles on May 10, 2008
I do think you need to check back with your OB/GYN. I got my last c-section in August of 2005 and to this day a small portion of my tummy around the scar is completely numb and I expect it always to be from here on out. It's obviously nerve damage. Strange things happen sometimes during surgery, but you should definitely have your issue looked at.