Around one-third of babies in the U.S. are now delivered via c-section. So, you’re not alone if your postpartum body includes a red or purple scar or the infamous overhang.
Fortunately, you have many options, from cups to lasers and surgery to beautiful tattoos. There’s a solution for everyone. Here’s what you can do about your C-section scar or pooch.
How to Get Rid of a C-Section Scar or Pooch
Check out this table for a quick list of available surgical and non-surgical options. I told you there are lots to choose from!
Time After Birth
C-Section Scar Non-Surgical Solutions
Silicone sheets, bands, or plasters
3 to 4 weeks
Scar creams, ointments, and gels
3 to 4 weeks
Straight away, if prescribed
Collagen or fillers
$1,500 - $5000
C-Section Scar Surgical Solutions
$2,500 - $3000
C-Section Pooch Non-Surgical Solutions
After you’ve stopped breastfeeding
6 to 12 months
C-Section Pooch Surgical Solutions
$3,000 - $5,000
Mini Tummy Tuck
$3,500 - $8,500
$8,000 - $12,000
How to Minimize a C-Section Scar
As you heal, your scar may be bright red, purple, itchy, numb, or lumpy. Don’t worry, it won’t stay this way forever. Here are the best ways to improve its appearance fast.
How to Fix a C-Section Scar Without Surgery
Massage will increase blood flow to the area. This will promote healing, quickly taking you from a bright red scar to a silvery-white line.
Silicone bands, sheets, or plasters are self-adhesive and designed to cover your scar for up to 24 hours a day. As you wear them, they’ll hydrate and regulate collagen production. This will help fade, flatten, and moisturize your scar.
Scar Creams, Ointments, and Gels
If you find silicone sheets uncomfortable, silicone scar gels are a great alternative. They work in the same way, but you can apply them in a thin, invisible layer.
Studies have shown that the gel is slightly less effective. But the difference is so tiny that it’s not worth putting ahead of your comfort.
If you have a hypertrophic or keloid scar, your doctor may recommend steroid injections. These will reduce inflammation and slow the overproduction of collagen.
If you don’t plan to have any more children, you can cover up or embellish your scar with a beautiful tattoo.
Collagen or Fillers
For dented or pitted scars, you can have collagen and other fillers injected. These will plump indented areas and smooth the surface.
Dermabrasion is the gentle removal of the top layer of skin. The hope is that this will allow the surface of your scar to heal more smoothly. But, the effects are not as dramatic as with other treatments.
Laser Scar Removal
Once your scar is fully healed, you may be able to smooth and fade it with laser therapy.
The treatment will differ according to the characteristics of your scar. Some reduce redness by targeting blood vessels. Some remove the surface layer of the scar to allow it to heal smoothly. Others encourage your body’s immune response and collagen production.
The recovery time for laser treatment is short, and you can typically be back to work the next day. However, most women need multiple treatments.
Surgical Treatment for a C-Section Scar
While more surgery is daunting, a surgical scar revision is the most effective treatment.
During the procedure, your plastic surgeon will sever adhesions, remove scar tissue, and take their time to make the scar as thin as possible.
How to Get Rid of a C-Section Pooch
As your c-section heals, adhesions can form between the scar tissue and the underlying muscles and fascia. This creates the effect of a shelf and causes the fat and skin above it to stick out or overhang.
Diet and exercise can reduce your pouch size, and some alternative therapies are available. However, surgery is the only way back to a completely flat stomach for many.
How to Lose a C-Section Pooch Without Surgery
Massaging your scar can prevent, stretch, or break the tissues sticking it to your muscles and fascia. This will allow your skin and fat to move freely and even out your profile.
A poor diet does not cause a c-section pooch. However, as it’s partly made of fat, reducing your body fat will shrink it.
Weakened abdominal muscles, or diastasis recti, can make your c-section pouch look larger. You can treat both with exercise. But some regular ab workouts can make diastasis recti worse. So check with a medical professional first.
A belly band is a compression belt you can wear postpartum. In theory, it will hold your abdominal muscles tightly and help them knit together. However, while some moms swear by them, there is little evidence they work.
Cupping is an alternative therapy involving hot cups or rubber suction devices. The idea is that the suction will help break the adhesions between your scar, muscles, fat, and fascia.
Cool sculpting is a spot treatment method for fat loss. It uses freezing temperatures to destroy your fat cells, which are then naturally removed by your body.
It can reduce the size of your c-section pouch by simply reducing the number of fat cells it contains. However, the results are moderate and won’t completely smooth your stomach.
Surgical Procedures to Remove a C-Section Pooch
Liposuction is the surgical removal of fat via a suction device. It’s the least invasive surgical option.
However, your c-section pooch contains more than just fat cells. In fact, it’s mostly excess skin. So, liposuction is not usually fully effective on its own.
Mini Tummy Tuck
A mini tummy tuck is a skin-only abdominoplasty. This is the surgical removal of the excess skin forming your pouch or overhang. Doctors usually recommend it if you have a low level of body fat.
Recovery takes around six weeks, and there are risks of complications like infection or scarring. It is, however, extremely effective and will completely remove your pooch.
A tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is surgery that removes fat and excess skin from your abdomen. Sometimes up to five pounds worth! Your surgeon will also remove any adhesions left by your previous scar and take care to avoid new ones.
The resulting scar will be longer than your original, but it should be thinner and neater. Recovery will be similar to your c-sections. You may also have tubes fitted to drain fluid and must wear a support garment for six weeks.
Your surgeon will not recommend the treatment if you plan to have another baby or gain or lose a lot of weight. However, maintaining a stable weight is the most effective and long-lasting solution for your post-c-section body.