Cesarean Scar Pain

Updated on January 11, 2010
C.K. asks from Saint Louis, MO
16 answers

Hi all. I am new to this site and am so glad i have found it, such great information.

I had a question relating to my cesarean. I have some pain aorund my scar and it feels kind of funny when I touch it. Has anyone else ever had this and if so how long does it normally last or will it ever get better. Secondly, has anyone had a vaginal birth after a cesarean and do you know what makes a canditate a "good" or "bad" candidate.

Thank you in advance for your help

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Oh my goodness, I am astonished that soo many of you took the time out of your day to respond to my question. I apologize for not thanking you sooner but I have been unable to get on the computer. Thank you so very much for your kind words and advice. I really appreciate them.


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answers from Kansas City on

I had 3 c-sections and my youngest is 10 and still have scar pain when I touch it.. that is pretty much normal.

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answers from Kansas City on

Hi C.! When did you have your c-section? I had mine in 2007 and it felt numb around my scar for a long time. It has just started feeling normal again within the past six months or so I'd say. I am actually pregnant with my second and am planning a VBAC. With information I received from some ladies on here, I was able to find a doctor that is willing to work with me for a VBAC but it has been hard finding one. I think there are a lot of them, too that will say they do them but women don't actually end up getting one with them.

To be a good candidate, I think it depends on the shape of the scar on your uterus. The scar on your stomach is not necessarily the same location and shape as the one on your uterus so you would have to have the doctor look at your medical records. I joined the Kansas City I-CAN chapter and have been able to chat with some ladies that have had VBAC's and that are planning to, it is a great resource! Good luck with everything. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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answers from Topeka on

C., I was lucky to have a c-section with my third and last delivery bc the baby decided to show his butt first. The first two weeks after was horrible when laying down and getting up. It has been 7 weeks now and there is an occasional pinchy feeling in places, notice it more when I do more. Also like all scars it feels like a tight bump just under the skin, I know this should looen in time. I guess we could rub the scar to break it down like my moms ortho doc told her with the knee scar, lol.
As far as VBAC the next time a couple of questions. Do you live in Kansas, if so not many hospitals offer this option due to the risk. Was your delivery bc of fetal distress, failure to progress, or??? Is your scar vertical(up and down) or horizontal? If vertical your only option would be c-section from here on out. Reason why is that typically the uterus is cut the same direction as the abdomin, if the uterus has a vertical incision than there is a strong possibilty that with labor and contractions your uterus could rupture. Sounds bad and is bad.
If you have any more questions I would love to help. I like the site as well but have found the more serious the question the least likely others will answer, so good luck.



answers from Joplin on

I had an emerency c section with my 13 yo and tried to have my second naturally but my body just didn't cooperated and had to have a second c section. I had the first totally put out and the second awake. Recovery awake was much easier if you have options and choose to have another c section. And my youndest is almost ten and still have funny sensation around my scar and is tender, especially if I am standing at the sink doing dishes leaning on that area a lot or something.



answers from St. Louis on

Not sure how long ago you had your baby but if it's a recent surgery it will take some time for it to heal. I've had 2 c-sections (both emergency) 6 yrs & 2 yrs ago - and there really is no feeling directly on the scar itself. I still sometimes have pain underneath it. I think that its fairly normal. If you are worried or it's giving you problems I would suggest you give your doctor a call.

Not sure about the 'good' bad candidate for a vaginal birth after c-section. I do know that it seems that doctors are leaning towards do c-sections after you have one - I think because of malpractice suits and the possiblity of what could happen.


answers from St. Louis on

I would say my scar was painful for quite a few months, and I got so used to being sore, its still a sensitive thing to touch because Im afraid it will still hurt, mine feels weird too, numb and weird. I just think its gross! My baby is 16 months too. Im just grossed out about the scar.....lol. Im a big baby!



answers from Reno on

Mine's still numb and I think that lasts a while. Took about 2 months for the pain to disappear.
As for VBAC just remember only 5% are successful so don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work ok:)



answers from St. Louis on

Hi C., to answer your question regarding your scar area, yes, I had the exact same situation. It felt SO strange to touch that I hated it being touched by anything for a long time. The feeling does go away with time (or maybe you just get used to it?/the nerve ending figure out what they are doing?) I tried for a vbac with my second child but he was so comfy in there that after my Dr. let me go a week past my due date and he was registering as gigantic on the u/s estimates she had me have another c-section. I don't know if I was just used to it or perhaps more prepared for it, but the second time was much better than the first on many levels, including scar pain and wierd feelings in the area. When the time comes you should be able to find a class perhaps at your hospital with information on vbacs. My Dr. let me wait until after I felt I was loaded with enough information on my own before I made the decision to attempt a vbac. With my 1st pregnancy I was VERY dissappointed I didn't get to deliver vaginally, so for my second I really wanted to do the vbac, but I also wanted everyone to come throgh it healthy and happy so I took my time deciding if it was actually the route that was right for me and the baby. And, then after all that the little stinker didn't want to come out anyway! haha! Gladly though, I had the c-section and everything went well and it turned out he weighed over 9 pounds! So... !! haha!! Anyway, it takes a while for things to "get back to normal" in the area. Good Luck! Enjoy your new baby boy!



answers from Kansas City on

I have 3 children, all c-sections. I would caution you to deliver your baby in the hospital if you decide on VBAC. Your uterus is scarred from your previous c-section, which makes uterine abruption more likely for you. This was happening to me, and if I hadn't already been in the OR we would have certainly lost our baby, and they doubted I would have survived.

I know this doesn't happen to everyone, but why would you chance it?



answers from St. Louis on

I will second the reccommendation for ICAN. ICAN was a valuable source of information for me when I was pregnant with my daughter planning my VBAC. There is also a St. Louis chapter. Another resource that looks helpful is Isa Herrarra's new book "Ending Female Pain. She is a physical therapist out of New York City. The really cool thing is I heard that she is going to present an online webinar with ICAN the end of January. Here is the information - http://ican-online.org/webinars/cesarean-scar-care

Many issues around scar pain can be traced to scar adhesions. The key is to work on getting rid of these adhesions. It looks like this is some of what will be covered in this webinar. I like what will be covered in the webinar because there seem to some practical tips and exercises that anyone can do.

In terms of who is an ideal VBAC candidate, if you ask 5 OBs you might get 5 different answers. Many of those opinions will not be based in evidence. The statistics for VBAC success is actually much higher than the 5% quoted. Some statistics show that over 70% of women with prior cesareans go on to have successful VBACs. Women who have been told their babies were too big to fit through their pelvis have gone on to birth babies several pounds bigger. My advice is to find a birth friendly care provider who is right for you and to educate yourself on risks and benefits. Unfortunately, scar pain is one of the unfortunate results of major abdominal surgery. This is one great reason to try for a VBAC.



answers from St. Louis on

Hi C.,
It is common to have some sensitivity around the scar, and sometimes the nerve endings as they heal can become overly sensitive. You can retrain your nerves to feel "normal" again. The process is called scar desensitization.
For 5-10 minutes a day you want to rub, tap, and/or pat your scar with various textured materials (cotton ball, silk, cotton, terry cloth, paper towel). You do this with gradually increasing pressure to your tolerance.

It is also important to take note of the condition of the scar. It usually takes 4-6 weeks post-op for the scar to fully close. The scar should not be overly red or warm to the touch. If this is the case and/or you are running a fever, you should contact your doctor because you may have an infection.

I am a women's health physical therapist. If your scar pain does not go away soon. I would be happy to take a look at you and help you out.



answers from St. Louis on

it's been 16 years since my c-section, & it's still bumpy with no sensation along the seam. My son (age 22) had extensive surgery on his leg at age 9...& still has little bumpies all along the incision line. In fact, with his leg, you can actually see each closure mark from the staples & sutures. & we used every salve, lotion, potion possible to reduce permanent scarring!

As for vaginal delivery after c-section, YES it's possible. Your case will be determined by the actual physical needs of your delivery. For me, 1st delivery was vaginal with epidural. 2nd was c-section. 3rd was all natural! In each case, I had a pit drip due to non-progression of labor, stress on baby, & length of labor. With all three children, the cord was wrapped around the baby's neck....my middle child the most life-threatening, which is "why" the c-section was critically needed.

Hope this helps....I wish you Peace.



answers from Columbia on

hello my dear - I can't address the scar pain - be sure to have it evaluated by a medical person with cesarean experience. some helpful resouces are ican.org - support for post - cesarean and potential vbacs. a book called "the vbac companion", and look at the websites for alace.org, dona.org for referal to other books and information. most important is to find a doctor who is supportive and encouraging about the possibility of vbac and ask what percentage of his vbac clients end up with cesarean and why. hiring a doula is proven to increase your chance of success with a vbac also. One final note, the way in which your uterus was sewn back together is very important to know - in a single layer at once, or in two of more layers - because the uterus has 2 layer of muscles - one layer runs vertically and the other horizontally - that's how the uterus can accomplish the force needed to nudge that baby down the birth canal gradually with each contraction - so if they used good strong stitching material and too the extra time to sew each muscle layer of the uterus back toether seperately, you are at lower risk of a uterine rupture. Some insurance companys do not pay for the materials and time the old fashioned way takes anymore...........order a copy of your medical record from the hospital addmission and it is worth the cost to know how it was done. good luck! - A. in columbia, mo



answers from Kansas City on

I had a csection, a hospital VBAC, and a home birth. There are many factors that affect whether you are a good candidate for a VBAC, but most have to do with the type of incision, the way it was stitched, the length of time since the surgery, and the reason you had your primary csection.

You really need to do your research, though, because the biggest obstacle to your getting a VBAC is your doctor. You should strongly consider using a midwife. Contrary to what a previous poster said, an OB who specializes in high risk is your WORST shot at getting a VBAC. All they know are problems and they want to avoid extremely unlikely complications, so they opt for surgery over labor which is unpredictable. And the length of your labor actually has little to do with whether you can have a VBAC (I labored for three days with mine), but hospitals often arbitrarily limit labor length just so they can section you.

Laboring in the hospital makes it take longer, too, because they will practically force you to be in the bed because of the monitoring, and that will extend labor. And an epidiral will increase your chances of a repeat csection, so you should think about natural ways to manage the pain. Hypnobabies is a good program. You can do it; it really wasn't that bad!



answers from Kansas City on

My incision site was sore for a few months and the numbness lasted probably close to a year. I still have a ridge of scar tissue there - my doctor didn't use staples, so maybe that made a difference. And frankly, I still don't like it being touched...it's somehow more sensitive than the rest of my belly! Weird, I know!

I'm also pregnant with Kidlet #2 and found a doctor willing to work with me on a VBAC because my original OB/GYN refuses to do them. Whether or not you're a good candidate depends on why you had a c-section to begin with and also how they did the surgery. The placement and orientation of the incision on your uterus is crucial. Your doc can review your OB and surgical records and see if you are a good candidate.

If you want a doctor referral, let me know. Good luck!



answers from Wichita on

I have had 3 c-sections (my last one was 4 years ago). The strange feeling has never gone away. My dr. said it was because the nerves were cut & they didn't grow back together the same way. Sometimes it feels like my incision itches, but scratching that spot doesn't make it feel better & if I scratch around it then it feels better. Mine did hurt around it & sometimes still does, but not as much as it did in the begining. The feeling around my scar(s) still feels strange (eveh 3" away from my insision(s)).
As for a VBAC you really need to discus that with your dr. I had a bikini cut through my skin, but a classical through my uterus & with my last 2 children my classical scar ruptured (very dangerous), but I was in the OR when that happened.

Next question: Is a Natural Birth Possible After 2 C-section Deliveries??

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