If you’re about to have a cesarean section, or have just had one, you may be wondering about a transverse c-section scar. We’ll take you through the details.
Today, more than one in four births happen by cesarean section, and a transverse incision is the most common incision type.
So if you have a transverse c-section scar, or might have one soon, you’re in good company.
Whether you’ve had a c-section already, or you’re preparing for one, read on for everything you need to know about what a transverse incision is and how to take care of your transverse c-section scar.
In this article: 📝
- Types of c-sections incisions
- Which C-section incision is better?
- Is the transverse abdominis cut during C-section?
- Caring for your transverse c-section scar
- Life with your c-section scar
Types of c-sections incisions
C-sections can involve either a vertical or horizontal c-section incision.
The horizontal version is called a transverse incision, or bikini cut.
And the vertical version is also known as the classical cut.
The transverse incision involves cutting from one side of your abdomen to the other, above your bikini line.
A vertical incision goes from somewhere below the below button to above the pubic bone.
Which C-section incision is better?
A transverse c-section is what’s usually recommended by doctors.
That’s because they are less painful, generally involve less blood loss, and are associated with fewer infections and postpartum complications.
They’re also less likely to rupture in future pregnancies.
And if you want to have a vaginal birth in the future, they’re also the better choice.
That being said, there are good reasons why you may have a vertical incision.
Because this procedure can help to get your baby out quickly, it may be performed in emergency c-sections and if you have placenta previa, where the placenta covers some or all of your cervix.
Is the transverse abdominis cut during C-section?
The transverse abdominis is the deepest layer of your abdominal muscles and goes from your ribs to your pelvis.
It plays a very important role in supporting your core.
Good news here! It won’t be cut when you have a c-section.
Contrary to popular belief, no muscles are cut during a typical c-section, except for the uterus.
During a c-section, the doctor cuts through your skin and fat and into the uterus to get your baby out.
So you actually land up with two incisions—one into your skin and one into your uterus.
(Fun fact? These don’t have to be in the same direction.)
Your abdominal muscles aren’t cut during a c-section.
Instead, they are pulled apart along the midline
This kind of separation already happens naturally in almost all pregnancies, and your body is able to bring these muscles back together as you heal after birth.
Caring for your transverse c-section scar
After having a c-section, you’ll generally stay in hospital for about three or four days.
And when you get home, you’ll need more rest and healing.
You may have staples and stitches that dissolve on their own or need to be removed by a doctor at a later date.
Your healthcare provider will give you specific instructions about how and when to change the bandages.
Speak to your doctor about what pain meds you can take (acetaminophen tends to be a popular choice).
And while it’s a great idea to get a little gentle movement in, it’s important to avoid strenuous exercise.
To help your incision heal, wash it gently every day and pat it dry to avoid infection.
It’s a good idea to opt for showers rather than baths to avoid getting it completely soaked.
If it’s a little itchy, don’t worry!
This is usually a sign that everything’s healing as it should.
It’s important to watch out for signs of infection.
And let your healthcare provider know if the site looks swollen or red, has any pus coming out of it, or you have a fever or severe pain.
About three weeks after birth (ask your doctor for a specific timeline), you can start massaging your scar.
This is very helpful for healing the scar and making sure it doesn’t cause tension or pain in your lower abdominal area or pelvic floor.
To do scar massage, put a little oil or lotion on your fingers and then gently massage the skin around the scar.
You can even lift and “roll” the scar, very gently.
Life with your c-section scar
About two weeks after your operation, your body will have already done quite a lot of work to repair itself.
And within a few months, your scar will probably be healed completely.
Over time, it will fade.
A transverse incision tends to be less visible than a vertical one.
They’re also often smaller than you might think, only running about four to six inches.
You may feel like rocking it—after all, it’s a serious badge of honor.
Or you can easily hide it under your clothes.
You do you.
If your scar is worrying you, there are c-section revision procedures that you can have done at a later date—but these do come with a hefty price tag.
The vital thing to remember is that your incredible body has accomplished something pretty remarkable.
There’s so much pride in that. And taking the time to rest, recuperate and acknowledge what you’ve been through is super important right now.
Important, yes, but easy? No.
After all, you do have a newborn on your hands.
So if you need some support along the way, join our c-section support group.
You don’t have to go through this alone.
All the best, mama.