How To Care For Your C-Section Scar

If you have a scar that has resulted from a C-section, gain insight into what you can expect, along with tips on proper healing of incision and reducing the visibility of scarring.

By URLife Team
19 Jul 2023

You have just delivered your baby via C-section. As you bask in the joy of your newborn's arrival through a C-section, it's natural to have questions about the resulting scar. Will it be permanent? How can you minimise its visibility? The questions may be endless, so we put together a list of answers for you. . 


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For over a decade, there has been a rapid increase in C-section delivery rates across the globe. As per a 2023 study issued by the Journal of Medical Internet Research,  the number of caesarean births globally recorded each year is more than 18 million, accounting for approximately 19.1 per cent of total births. These numbers have increased from just 7 per cent in 1990 and are projected to increase to nearly one-third (29 per cent) of all births by 2030

The wound from a C-section will eventually form a scar and is about 10 to 20 cm long, just below the bikini line. It is normal to have pain, soreness or even bleeding for a few weeks after a major abdominal surgery and your incision needs time to heal completely. If a woman has had a C-section, it is recommended to take things easy for several weeks.. The good news is that the majority of C-section scars tend to heal well, leaving just a faint line positioned just above the pubic hairline. This area makes it easy to conceal the scar with clothing, underwear, and bathing suits.


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Types of C-section

The specific type of C-section performed depends on various factors, including the mother's health, the position of the baby, and any medical considerations that may arise during the procedure. Your healthcare provider will determine the most appropriate type of C-section for your situation.


There are primarily three types of C-section procedures:

1. Traditional or Classical C-section: This is the oldest and least common type of C-section. It involves a vertical incision in the midline of the abdomen, starting from the navel down to the pubic hairline. Classical C-sections are usually performed in specific situations, such as with certain fetal presentations or when rapid delivery is necessary.

2. Low Transverse C-section: This is the most common type of C-section. It involves a horizontal incision made just above the pubic hairline, typically in the lower segment of the uterus. The incision is usually made transversely (side to side) and results in a scar that is easily concealed beneath clothing.

3. Low Vertical C-section: This type of C-section involves a vertical incision made above the pubic hairline, extending downwards. It is less common than the low transverse C-section and may be used in specific situations, such as when the lower segment of the uterus is not accessible or when there are certain complications.


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Ways to close C-section incision

C-section incisions are typically closed in one of two ways:

  • Staples or Sutures: After the baby is delivered, the uterine incision is closed using sutures (stitches) or staples. Sutures are thread-like materials that are carefully stitched through the layers of tissue, including the uterus, to bring them together and promote healing. Staples, on the other hand, are metal clips that are used to hold the edges of the incision together. They are often faster to apply but may be slightly more visible than sutures.
  • Internal Dissolvable Stitches: In addition to closing the uterine incision, the layers of the abdominal wall (muscles and fascia) are also closed. This is typically done using internal dissolvable stitches. These stitches are made from a material that naturally breaks down over time, eliminating the need for their removal. The use of dissolvable stitches reduces the risk of infection and eliminates the discomfort associated with stitch removal.


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Type of C-section Scar

The majority of C-sections today are performed using the low transverse incision, as it offers a lower risk of complications and results in a scar that is easier to conceal. However, in certain situations where a low transverse incision is not possible, the classical incision may be used. The type of scar you have will depend on your circumstances and the decision made by your healthcare provider.

The type of C-section scar you have will depend on the type of C-section procedure performed. There are two main types of C-section scars:

1. Low Transverse (Horizontal) Scar: This is the most common type of C-section scar. It is a horizontal incision made just above the pubic hairline, usually in the lower segment of the uterus. The scar is typically straight and stretches across the lower abdomen. It is usually well hidden beneath most clothing and swimwear.

2. Classical (Vertical) Scar: The classical C-section scar is much less common and may be used in specific situations. It is a vertical incision made in the midline of the abdomen, starting from the navel and extending down to the pubic hairline. This type of scar may be more visible compared to the low transverse scar and may also carry a higher risk of complications, so it is not used as frequently as the low transverse incision.


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What to expect after a C-section?

  • After childbirth, you may experience vaginal bleeding for approximately 6 weeks, known as lochia. Initially, the bleeding will be red and gradually transition to a pink hue, eventually turning yellow or white.
  • Regarding your C-section incision, it will be slightly raised and pinker than the surrounding skin during the initial stages. Expect it to appear somewhat swollen.
  • Although any pain should diminish within 2 or 3 days, the incision site may remain tender for up to 3 weeks or longer. Many women may require pain medication for the first few days to 2 weeks after delivery. 
  • As time passes, your scar will become thinner, flatter, and either turn white or blend with the colour of your skin.


A postpartum checkup with your healthcare provider will be necessary in 4 to 6 weeks to monitor your healing progress and address any concerns. If you are breastfeeding, be sure to consult your healthcare provider about safe pain relief options.


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How to care for a C-section incision scar?

Caring for a C-section incision scar is essential to promote proper healing and minimise any potential complications. 


Here are some tips on how to care for your C-section incision scar:

1. Keep the incision clean and dry: Gently clean the incision area with mild soap and water, and pat it dry with a clean towel. Avoid scrubbing or rubbing the area vigorously.

2. Monitor for signs of infection: Keep an eye on the incision for any signs of infection, such as increasing redness, swelling, warmth, pus, or foul-smelling discharge. If you notice any concerning symptoms, contact your healthcare provider promptly.

3. Support the incision when moving: In the early stages of healing, you may feel more comfortable holding a pillow against your incision when coughing, sneezing, or moving to provide extra support.

4. Avoid lifting heavy objects: To prevent strain on the incision site, avoid lifting heavy objects during the initial weeks of recovery.

5. Wear loose and comfortable clothing: Opt for loose-fitting clothing that doesn't rub against the incision area to reduce irritation.

6. Stay hydrated and eat a balanced diet: Adequate hydration and a balanced diet rich in nutrients will aid in the healing process.

7. Manage pain as needed: If you experience discomfort, follow your healthcare provider's recommendations for pain relief, especially if you are breastfeeding.

8. Avoid activities that may stress the incision: Refrain from activities that may put unnecessary strain on the incision area, such as intense workouts or heavy lifting, until you receive clearance from your doctor.

9. Protect the incision from sun exposure: While the scar is healing, try to keep it protected from direct sunlight to prevent hyperpigmentation.

10. Massage the scar (if recommended by your doctor): After the incision has healed, some healthcare providers may suggest gentle scar massage to help reduce tightness and improve scar appearance.


Contact your doctor if you have any concerns or doubts about your post-C-section recovery. They are there to support and assist you throughout the healing process. It is essential to be vigilant about your post-C-section recovery and reach out to your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms or situations:


  • Signs of infection like pus and swelling
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Fever
  • Worsening pain
  • Foul-smelling discharge
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Severe abdominal pain


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