April is International Cesarean Awareness Month so I thought it was fitting to share awareness and educate people about Cesareans. My goal is to help reduce unnecessary Cesareans as a childbirth option but also to support the recovery of those who have undergone a Cesarean.
Pregnancy and childbirth can be unpredictable for both the other and the baby. While we celebrate the joy of new life in the family, we should also understand some risks. Rapid delivery, Cesarean Section (often called C-section), sometimes is planned ahead of time by the mother and the doctor; sometimes, though, it may be required with emergency situations like fetal distress, disporportion of the head-pelvis (the baby's head is too large), decreased capacity of the pelvis of the mother, and/or the baby is in the "sunny side up" position.
Although there is definitely a time and a place for a C-section, many women are not aware of the complications that post-cesarean section surgery may occur for months or even years.
Abdominal incisions, such as Cesarean incision (C-section), may lead to tissue adhesion and can increase the risk of the following symptoms:
Chronic pelvic and back pain
Painful bowel movements
Abdominal swelling and bloating
Pain at the incision site (scar)
Nerve injury symptoms such as numbness/tingling, muscle weakness or sudden shard pain with movements
Restricted range of motion of the hip, pelvis and spine
Adhesions and scar tissue are the body's natural healing process when there is any kind of surgical cut, infection, inflammation or trauma. They are like spider webs of collagen that wrap to cover organs and tissues surrounding a healing site. They can restrict blood flow or reduce function of internal tissues or organs that can eventually lead to pain.
Scar massage can help reduce tissue adhesion and some of the negative symptoms they can cause. Here are three simple ways to massage your scar:
Place your fingers directly over the scar and apply gentle pressure; move your fingers in a circular motion
Place your fingers directly over the scar and apply gentle pressure; slide your fingers up and down over the scar (perpendicular to the scar)
Place your fingers directly over the scar and apply gentle pressure; then move your fingers in a side to side motion (parallel/following the length of the scar)
When you feel comfortable with the above technique, you may begin rolling the scar between your fingers and thumb.
Lift the scar and gently pinch between your thumb and other fingers
Maintain the pinch and roll the tissue between your fingers through different directions (think of rolling a marble between your fingers)
Note that you may experience a slight tingling sensation as you work on the scar. It is completely normal.
If you are struggling with the scar massage or experiencing any pain or discomfort in the abdomen or pelvic area, please consult with a pelvic floor therapist for further assessment and treatment.
Dr. Yvonne Huang