C-section Scar Care: How To Ensure Proper Management
All pregnancies have lasting marks. For mums who gave birth by caesarean section (C- section), the scar is the indelible impression that serves as a reminder of their strength, grit, and motherly love. Scarring is an inevitable consequence of C-sections and becomes part of the mothers’ birthing story and also a physical reminder.
“I love my baby, but not my scar.”
Many women have not found it easy to own their C-section scar. Even as they feel amazed at their body’s ability to heal quickly, there is often an emotion generated as a result of their birth-scar, that never goes away. You see the scar, you still have all the feelings that flooded in the first time you felt and saw it.
Despite how common the procedure has become, C-sections are rarely the topic of conversations, medical or not. Therefore, misconceptions abound. And of course, the more misconceptions, the more challenging it becomes for mums to care for themselves in addition to a newborn. Women face a physical and mental recovery period that takes months, or even years. That is why it is important that mothers are given the proper information, especially on proper care until the scarring, emotional and physical, fully heals.
So, let us review the most crucial information about C-section delivery and the scar that it leaves behind.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) identify C-section births as a procedure that involve making incisions in the uterus and abdomen to deliver a baby.1 Yet, C-section deliveries are often misconstrued as “the easy way out” or “a vanity- driven choice” often made by people who have never experienced a C-section. Clearly, there is nothing “easy” about having a significant horizontal or vertical incision through your subcutaneous tissue and the fascia that surrounds your organs. To close the incision, the surgeon stitches multiple layers of muscle, tissue and skin using sutures, staples or surgical glue which invariably will leave a scar. Depending on skin tone and body shape, scars can be very visible and without treatment may never disappear completely.
There are specific reasons that mums might get a C-section, but they are all in the interest of the health of the baby and mom. Some common reasons are if your baby is in a breech position and/or a protracted labor or when the labor is going too slowly that the mother and the baby are at risk.
Unplanned C-sections can be emotionally traumatic on the mother and partner who were not expecting to come home with a baby and a wound. Planned C-sections cannot be viewed as any less dramatic of an event to the new mom and lasting scars may have a negative association
The C-section scar
In the initial healing phase, a C-section scar will look red or pink for several months. It eventually fades over time to a pale, flat, thin line, whether it’s horizontal or vertical.
Some scars called hypertrophic scars thicken and persist for up to six months before improving over time.2 Hypertrophic scars look darker, thicker and are more raised than a normal scar.
A Keloid scar forms from abnormal healing and extends beyond the original boundaries of the wound. This type of scar appears as a lump above the skin level and is thick and irregular.
Raised and reddish (and very visible) scars are the kind that can worry moms. As explained in NHS literature, in the process of wound healing, a protein called collagen is released to assist in healing and strengthening the newly formed tissue. However, when too much collagen is produced, keloid scars can form and continue to grow even after the wound has healed.
Most scars will gradually fade over time. However, some will require management to improve a scar’s appearance and make it less visible.2
Will my scar ever heal completely?
Once fully healed, there are things you can do to give your body a head start. So, first things first: give your body a head start on mending itself. Hydrate and take on a healthy diet rich in protein because your skin will need all the nutrients it can have to fully heal quickly. Following the wound care guidance of your doctor or nurse is important and they may recommend advanced wound closure products that offer improved wound healing. Lifestyle habits such as smoking can also stagnate the healing process, disrupting your skin’s regeneration and can even make scarring worse.3
Although C-section scars are permanent, they can fade over a period of up to 2 years. However, after this time, Doctors advise that it is unlikely that the scar will fade further3 However, there are many options for dealing with a C-section scar. While the scar is permanent, the quality and appearance of the scar you end up with can be managed with products that may improve your C-section scar’s appearance and help make it less visible, according to DermCare Physicians & Surgeons.3
CICA-CARETM Silicone Gel Sheet
Today, there are many management options for improving scar appearance. You may come across promotional gimmicks and unfounded claims with “miracle creams” backed by ‘before and after’ photos. Other treatments include cosmetic surgeries that can cost a fortune.
However, there is a non-invasive, non-surgical management option that has shown 100% of scars blanching and softening after 6 months of treatment (N=21).4
CICA-CARE Gel Sheet is a silicone gel sheet that has been shown to be effective in the management of hypertrophic and keloid scars. The gel sheet covers the red, raised scar, and flattens, softens and fades, red, dark and raised scars such as post-surgical C-section scars. 4,5,6,7,8,9
It is self-adhesive, comfortable 6,7 durable 5,10,** and re-usable on the same person, That C- section ‘battle’ scar can be managed with CICA-CARE Gel Sheet. Fading and softening of scar can be seen after 2 months. Best results are demonstrated after 6 months (N=21) .4
Let CICA-CARETM Gel Sheet take care of you
CICA-CARE Gel Sheet offers easy and comfortable use,6,7 and incurs little of the pain, inconvenience and cost that come with surgery or steroid injections. CICA-CARE Gel Sheet can even be used on scars up to 30 years old.4,6,7,8, This is why CICA-CARE Gel Sheet has been widely used by the medical profession for a long time. It has now recently been made available to purchase from your local pharmacist.
Becoming a mother is something to celebrate, even when it leaves a scar. There is no shame in seeing the “battle scar” imprinted on your body for carrying your child for nine months. Many women consider it as a “badge of honor” and is a reminder of their strength, courage, and selfless love. But there is also no shame in wanting to improve your post-pregnant belly’s appearance and acknowledging how remarkable science and technology is that it can help diminish the scar.
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- Cesarean birth. (n.d.) The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Retrieved from: https://www.acorg/patient-resources/faqs/labor-delivery-and-postpartum- care/cesarean-birth.
- (n.d.). National Health Services. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/scars/#:~:text=New%20collagen%20continues%20for ming%20for,gradually%20becomes%20smoother%20and%20softer.
- How can I reduce the visibility of a C-section scar? (n.d.). DermCare Physicians & Retrieved from https://dermcare.us/c-section-scar/.
- Carney SA, Cason CG, Gowar JP, et al. Cica-Care gel sheeting in the management of hypertrophic scarring. Burns. 1994;20(2):163-167.
- Donald L. Comparison of 2 Types of Silicone Gel Sheets. Australian/New Zealand Burns Association (ANZBA). 1995;14:10-11.
- Smith+Nephew 2000.An Investigation of the Use of Cica-Care in the Treatment of Hypertrophic and Keloid Scars: A Clinical, Histological and Immunohistochemical Study. Internal Report. STR/ST214/CT9606.
- Al-Mandeel MS, Bang RL, Ebrahim MK. Re-appraisal of Cica-Care (Silicone gel sheet) in the treatment of hypertrophic and keloid scars. Saudi Med J. 1998;19(6):741-745.
- Momeni M, Hafezi F, Rahbar H, Karimi H. Effects of silicone gel on burn scars. 2009;35(1):70-74.
- Li-Tsang C.W.P., Lau JCM, Choi J., Chan C.C.C., Jianan A prospective randomized clinical trial to investigate the effect of silicone gel sheeting (Cica-Care) on post-traumatic hypertrophic scar among the Chinese population. Burns. 2006;32(6):678-683.
- Smith+Nephew 2018.Simulated Wash study to determine if CICA-CARE has the ability to withstand being wetted. Internal Report. U/040/R4.
** When CICA-CARE begins to deteriorate or cleaning becomes difficult, it should be replaced