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View Full Version : How long after your c-section did it take for your stomach to stop hurting?


alice_in_wonderland
09-22-2010, 01:14 PM
I'm not asking for medical advice - I've been assessed by a public health nurse and I have an appointment with my Dr. next week. I have no signs of infection, my incision is lovely and healing well, etc.

However, my stomach hurts. It's been about 5.5 weeks since Jr. arrived. The public health nurse pointed out that when you're having a c-section they don't take much time being gentle with you and your guts tend to get hauled out of the way rather unceremoniously so she wasn't surprised that the area was uncomfortable; however, she had no real opinion on how long it would remain so.

So - if you had a c-section, how long did it take before your stomach stopped being tender?

I guess I would just like something to look forward to. :)

Caridwen
09-22-2010, 01:17 PM
No experience with C-sections, but just wanted to say Hi and congratulations! :D

MsWhatsit
09-22-2010, 01:38 PM
Are you talking about muscle soreness or incision pain? I think the general muscle soreness in that area lasted a bit longer than the incision pain did for me, but both were pretty much gone by the 2-3 week point, if I remember correctly. (I may not be remembering correctly.)

Poysyn
09-22-2010, 03:12 PM
I know it's a minimum 6 to 8 weeks before you are supposed to do anything like vacuum or lift anything over ten pound - nice when the baby was 9.8 at birth! I don't remember exactly when things stopped hurting but they did, i know I waited the 6 to 8 weeks though.

If you have strained the area, it can take longer.

Cat Whisperer
09-22-2010, 04:38 PM
Not a c-section, but my husband had to have the big incision with his gall bladder removal (the scar is about eight inches long, just under his ribcage), so it's somewhat similar - it was at least a year before he felt right in that area again, and two and a half years later, it still bothers him a little (sneezing and such). Keep checking in with your doctor, report any pain that really makes you sit up and take notice, but it looks like those kinds of incisions really do take quite a while to heal completely.

Neeps
09-22-2010, 05:02 PM
Okay, so I didn't have a section with my baby, but in 2008 I had a rather large ovarian cyst removed via a laparotomy in pretty much the same location. The surface pain was gone within a couple of weeks, but I had deep pain for up to about 9 months. It got less and less, but I definitely found I still had pain when I overdid things for quite some time.

Hopefully you won't have it quite that long, but it can take a lot longer than anyone will let on to. Maybe I heal slowly, or are more prone to adhesions, but if I did too much exercise in the months following the operation I'd be doubled over a few hours later. A really sharp, stabbing pain. Not nice, and I did wonder if I would ever be the same. It did get better, though. Just very slowly. Now, 2 years later, I don't really think about it.

WhyNot
09-22-2010, 05:16 PM
Was it an emergency c-section or a scheduled one? How far along in the pregnancy? Vertical or horizontal incision? Do you scar easily? How old are you?

My emergency c-section scar, horizontal through the skin and subcutaneous, but vertical along the uterus, at 23 weeks of pregnancy on 31 year old body that just loooooves to make keloid scar tissue, took about 6-8 weeks to stop hurting on a regular basis, took months before it stopped hurting on exertion, and over a year to really feel right again. Now, almost 6 years later, I occasionally get a twinge or two in the area and my generally invisible exterior scar will sometimes raise and get irritated. And don't get me started on the post surgical incontinence! That lasted for months as well.

It's major abdominal surgery, don't let its frequency fool you. And if it's done on an emergency basis, your nurse is right, they're not too gentle about it. There are lots of layers of tissue that get cut, stretched pushed, pulled and otherwise damaged in the process, and that takes a long time to heal.

And also - congratulations! How is the baby doing?

alice_in_wonderland
09-22-2010, 05:27 PM
Emergency section, horizontal incision, 39 weeks, I'm 37 and I'm prone to adhesions.

The actual incision feels just fine - it will occasionally twinge like when I did my pilates DVD.

The pain is actually higher, in my stomach area, and it's still swollen. It hurts pretty well all the time, but it doesn't get worse or better with exertion - it's almost like the skin and upper layer of fat/tissue hurts, if that makes sense.

Nzinga, Seated
09-22-2010, 05:31 PM
Congrats on the baby! I had an emergency c-section, horizontal incision, removed the staples by week two and healed beautifully.

The first week was hell, the second week was heck, after that, it was smooth sailing.

But the strangest thing is...the numbness. I had no feeling at all around the incision site for about 2 months. I would pinch my belly very hard. Nothing. It was really freaky.

MsWhatsit
09-22-2010, 05:36 PM
But the strangest thing is...the numbness. I had no feeling at all around the incision site for about 2 months. I would pinch my belly very hard. Nothing. It was really freaky.

My incision is still numb, and the baby is 8 years old now. One of the OB nurses at the hospital told me that her site was still numb after 25 years. It's only within about half an inch of the incision, though, so not really a big deal. It is definitely freaky, though.

WhyNot
09-22-2010, 05:44 PM
Emergency section, horizontal incision, 39 weeks, I'm 37 and I'm prone to adhesions.

The actual incision feels just fine - it will occasionally twinge like when I did my pilates DVD.

The pain is actually higher, in my stomach area, and it's still swollen. It hurts pretty well all the time, but it doesn't get worse or better with exertion - it's almost like the skin and upper layer of fat/tissue hurts, if that makes sense.

Did the visiting nurse do a physical exam? I'd be more concerned about whether the uterus properly returned to its former size than residual pain. A midwife or OB can palpate your abdomen to check the size and position of your uterus and make sure it's where it should be.

Oh, yeah, my incision site is still numb, too. Funny how I forget about it until someone else mentions it!

alice_in_wonderland
09-22-2010, 06:27 PM
I saw the nurse about 5 days after he was born and she removed the staples - she poked around a little and said everything was fine.

I spoke on the phone to the public health nurse last week. She asked me a few questions that would suggest infection (I was clear) and then suggest I follow up with my Dr. which I am doing next week. I am breast feeding which is supposed to help with the uterus shape.

Regarding the incision - I'm not numb at all. It feels totally fine, and not even particularly weird. It's not that straight (they were in a bit of a hurry, 'cus things were heading south fairly quickly), but other than being sort of diagonal instead of straight, it looks great.

So I guess that means these things are variable, which isn't all that surprising. I wonder if my age is making things sore, longer. I've never had any type of abdominal surgery (or any surgery, really - tonsils and wisdom teeth) so I really had no idea what to expect.

Oh - and Tyler is doing very well. He put on a pound in a week!! This is because he's a shwank and never gives my boobs a moment's peace. That is just fine though. :)

norinew
09-22-2010, 06:33 PM
All three of my children were C-section, the kind of horizontal-plus-vertical incision that WhyNot describes. It took a good 8 weeks, really, for abdominal-intensive stuff like sneezing, deep laughing, etc. to not hurt.

alice_in_wonderland
09-22-2010, 06:39 PM
It took a good 8 weeks, really, for abdominal-intensive stuff like sneezing, deep laughing, etc. to not hurt.

Huh. Sneezing and stuff doesn't bother me any more at all. Like I said, the pain doesn't change no matter what I do.

Well, I have some aloe lotion that my MIL gave me for my stretch marks and it hurts when I massage it in - as in, it hurts more when I touch the area and put any pressure on it. Slightly related - I have to say - my stomach is an ABOMINATION!!!! It's so ugly! Loose skin, stretch marks, I haven't been able to put my belly button ring back in. I'm really hoping that it's going to improve in appearance somewhat. Fortunately, Mr. Wonderland is currently distracted by the absurdly massive, concrete-like breast-feeding boobs I'm sporting. :D

salinqmind
09-22-2010, 07:09 PM
I had no clue that my boobs were going to turn into rock hard spigots, and I was no spring chicken!

I had a C-section 20 years ago and the first week was rough, yes, but I was in the hospital for part of that. I came home and the first 2 or 3 days the staples and the incision hurt like hell! But no deeper pain, really, I felt fine. I felt so fine, I went back to my usual routine, going up and down stairs, doing laundry - though slooowly, and doing NOTHING strenuous, no heavy lifting. But the result was extended after-birth vaginal bleeding, or that's what they told me, that it would have stopped sooner if I'd rested more.

I do hope you feel better soon. Tell your medical people about it, they know more about it than we do. Congratulations, and good luck.

Oh, and the incision was horizontal, right at my bikini line, and has faded completely, you would have to look very hard under a bright light to see even the faint scar.

eclectic wench
09-22-2010, 07:25 PM
36, emergency section, horizontal incision, good healer. The tenderness and swelling were gone within about two weeks. The deep pain was about the same. (And I was doing everything normally, apart from not lifting anything heavy. Patience is not my thing.) After that, the only thing that actually hurt was when I had a load of heavy shopping in the shopping bag of the buggy, and I pushed down on the buggy handle to get it up on a curb. That gave me a twinge way deep under my scar for six or seven months.

14 months on and I'm still numb for about half an inch all around the scar.

I know someone who had some kind of haematoma, and I vaguely remember him describing it as feeling like a bad bruise. I'd probably get it checked out.

WhyNot
09-22-2010, 09:19 PM
it hurts more when I touch the area and put any pressure on it.

Huh. Hernia, maybe? This is not my area of specialty, I am not your nurse, I can't do any sort of exam or diagnosis online, of course. ;) But it doesn't sound like the usual post-surgical kind of pain. At your next check up, do mention the problem.

Hilarity N. Suze
09-22-2010, 09:55 PM
C-section, the incision healed pretty fast, but there was still some residual soreness somewhere for almost a year--when I ran or worked out, for instance.

I'm still numb in places around the scar, and the kid is 15.

alice_in_wonderland
09-22-2010, 10:20 PM
it hurts more when I touch the area and put any pressure on it.

Huh. Hernia, maybe? This is not my area of specialty, I am not your nurse, I can't do any sort of exam or diagnosis online, of course. ;) But it doesn't sound like the usual post-surgical kind of pain. At your next check up, do mention the problem.

Yah - I'm absolutely going to follow up with my doc next week.

It's possible that I'm just a big sucky, too. :)

Mama Zappa
09-23-2010, 03:03 PM
Are you talking about muscle soreness or incision pain? I think the general muscle soreness in that area lasted a bit longer than the incision pain did for me, but both were pretty much gone by the 2-3 week point, if I remember correctly. (I may not be remembering correctly.)

Sounds reasonably close to what I experienced. Maybe mine lasted a little longer - though the pain wasn't anything constant, just occasionally if I moved a bit wrong, I'd be reminded by twinges >>in there<<.

For what it's worth, my c-section was "urgent but not emergent"... they had to get baby out "today" not "this instant" - so the doctor had the luxury of taking her time and not doing undue damage. I'd think a slash-and-grab surgery would leave you a bit more sore.

alice_in_wonderland
09-23-2010, 03:19 PM
I'd think a slash-and-grab surgery would leave you a bit more sore.

Yes - I think so too. I was actually looking at my scar today and it's not even centered - it's off to one side about 2 inches.

They REALLY wanted to get him out ASAP. :)

WhyNot
09-23-2010, 04:45 PM
Yes - I think so too. I was actually looking at my scar today and it's not even centered - it's off to one side about 2 inches.

They REALLY wanted to get him out ASAP. :)

Could be, or could be another sign of a hernia. My fiance's got a big post-surg hernia from a sigmoidectomy for diverticulitis. Essentially, a good portion of his intestines have poked through the muscle wall to sit behind the skin. This shows as one side of his belly poking out further than the other and it pulls his incision scar to one side by a couple of inches.

I'm glad they got him out in time, for both your sakes'! :)

yams!!
09-23-2010, 05:41 PM
Slightly related - I have to say - my stomach is an ABOMINATION!!

I think you mean "abdomenation."


love
yams!!

Elysium
09-23-2010, 09:42 PM
My c-section was three months ago, and I still have a bit of muscle soreness. I technically had an emergency section, but the baby was doing fine so they weren't in a crazy rush. He was just stuck and it was clear he wasn't coming down after I pushed for a while. The incision itself healed very well and by 2-3 weeks felt normal, no numbness or pain on the skin. But for a few weeks after that I had a sore stomach and I felt crampy and achey a lot of the time, and it also hurt to push down on my stomach above the incision. Now it's mostly all healed, but every once in a while I get a twinge. I can finally put pressure on my abdomen again without it killing me, but there's still soreness. I think it just takes a lot more time for the internal bits to heal up.
Hopefully your doctor says that you are healing well and you don't have to worry about infection. Mine did mention that you won't really know how the incision will feel for the rest of your life (in regards to numbness, etc) until about 6 months out. At that point it will be as healed as it's going to get, he says.

emmaliminal
09-23-2010, 10:00 PM
Very emergency C-section (after plennnty of labor, gah) 12 weeks ago yesterday, I'm 41, normal tendency to scarring, 40 weeks pregnancy, smallish but healthy baby (6 lbs 9 oz). No pain at all anymore, just a little itchiness underneath. It was numb above (towards my head) but not below the incision until a couple of weeks ago. I massage the scar regularly to minimize adhesions but I can already tell it's not going to be a problem. One other surgical scar I have has been much worse, while others are about the same. I was good and didn't lift anything more than 10 pounds for four weeks like they told me (my awesome husband made that possible).

I'd concur that it sounds like you've got something of (probably mild) concern to ask about at your next appointment like you're planning.

BTW, yay for babies!

ETA: Oh yeah, and it was horizontal-outside-vertical-inside. I think that's pretty standard nowadays unless you have an unusual situation.

MissSwitac
09-25-2010, 07:41 PM
I think I must've been lucky compared to most I guess. Emergency c-section, 7 inch horizontal scar, dissolvable stitches. Used a suction cup type thing to get baby out. He was high up in the ribs. Delivered at 46 years of age. I had normal soreness for 2 weeks or so. Now, seven months later it feels fine. The skin feels thicker underneath the scar, but no pain.

Clare D
10-30-2011, 06:54 AM
Hi Alice
Really sorry to read about your tenderness in your tummy after your c section. I think I am experiencing exactly the same. I am 37 years old and had a planned c section nearly 6 weeks ago. The incision and scar have healed really well but I am extreme tenderness in my tummy so bad that I can hardly touch it sometimes. I have been to the hospital and had blood tests and an ultrasound and they cannot find anything wrong. They think it could possibly be an infection and have given me antiboitics but after 4 days I still feel the same. I am hoping like you there is something to look forward to and am wondering how you got on or if anyone reading this can help?

Sattua
10-30-2011, 09:34 AM
It was more than a month before I could bear to wear low-cut clothing over my incision. However at 5 weeks I was feeling good enough that I tried to do a little bit of gardening--easy stuff, just putting plants in the ground. That was a mistake. I spent that evening curled up on the sofa, feeling peristalsis against my inflamed abdominal muscles.

alice_in_wonderland
10-31-2011, 01:30 PM
Hi Alice
Really sorry to read about your tenderness in your tummy after your c section. I think I am experiencing exactly the same. I am 37 years old and had a planned c section nearly 6 weeks ago. The incision and scar have healed really well but I am extreme tenderness in my tummy so bad that I can hardly touch it sometimes. I have been to the hospital and had blood tests and an ultrasound and they cannot find anything wrong. They think it could possibly be an infection and have given me antiboitics but after 4 days I still feel the same. I am hoping like you there is something to look forward to and am wondering how you got on or if anyone reading this can help?

Hi Clare,

Well, 14 months out, and the area still hurts if I'm tired, or if I overdo it exercising; however, generally it feels OK (ETA - it's more of an ache - not a stabbing pain at all). Last year I was checked for a hernia, etc and everything was normal. I think maybe it was just a combo of my age, the urgency with which they hauled Junior out of there, and a total and utter lack of support when he was a newborn necessitating that I do WAAAAAY more than was recommended by my doctors, slowing healing.

FWIW, It mostly feels fine now, and even my tummy isn't that nasty looking anymore. :)

Clare D
11-01-2011, 06:07 AM
Hi Clare,

Well, 14 months out, and the area still hurts if I'm tired, or if I overdo it exercising; however, generally it feels OK (ETA - it's more of an ache - not a stabbing pain at all). Last year I was checked for a hernia, etc and everything was normal. I think maybe it was just a combo of my age, the urgency with which they hauled Junior out of there, and a total and utter lack of support when he was a newborn necessitating that I do WAAAAAY more than was recommended by my doctors, slowing healing.

FWIW, It mostly feels fine now, and even my tummy isn't that nasty looking anymore. :)

Hi Alice

Thanks for your reply. I'm so glad you are feeling better now. It is giving me hope that I'll get better eventually also. Take care :)

WhyNot
11-02-2011, 12:52 PM
FWIW, It mostly feels fine now, and even my tummy isn't that nasty looking anymore. :)
Did you get your belly button ring back in? Or did the squirming, kicking feet of an infant/toddler threatening to rip it straight out through your sweater convince you that they're best left for women without children? :D

emmaliminal
11-02-2011, 01:05 PM
I would just like to add that it is now 16 1/3 months (roughly) since my C-section, and my scar still itches every day. (It didn't hurt very long, as I said somewhere (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=12949721&postcount=25) above/a while ago.)