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Woman cares for her cesarean incision

How to keep a C-Section Incision dry when Overweight

The rate of cesarean sections is growing worldwide. With almost a third of births in the United States taking place via cesarean section, we want to share how important it is to care for your c-section incision.

Keeping your c-section incision dry is the most crucial aspect of c-section incision care, particularly when overweight. Let’s go through some essential tips to keep your incision clean and dry, get you back to healing, and allow you to spend time with your new family member. 

Why is it important to keep the incision dry?

Keeping your incision dry will help you reduce the chance of inflammation or infection. A 2014 study suggested that up to 10% of overweight women who had a cesarean section experience infection, compared to 6.6% of women who weren’t overweight. 

Why is that? An incision needs to be dry to heal correctly, and as a c-section incision is in a sweaty part of your body, any extra tissue around the area may cause excess fluid to be produced. 

What are the best ways to keep the incision dry?

First, ask your care team in the hospital or your doctor for advice on how to best care for your incision. They will be the best resource of medical knowledge and understand the level of care that you require. 

For simple, at-home care that you can do yourself, read on for some popular solutions to keeping your c-section incision dry.

Wear suitable clothing and undergarments

Now, more than ever is the time to embrace high-waisted underwear and loose clothing. Giving your wound space to heal is an integral part of the process, and high-waisted underwear is a great place to start.

Invest in soft cotton underwear that will let your skin breathe while wicking up any excess moisture.

Use a sanitary napkin

Use a sanitary napkin to capture some of the excess moisture near the incision site. Place the soft, absorbent side by the incision and the sticky side on your underwear to secure it.

Some mothers prefer to use sterile, clean cloth diapers as well. Make sure to regularly change whatever guard you have in place before too much moisture seeps into it.

Air it out

To reduce moisture and heal, your incision must be exposed to circulating air. Lie on your back, remove any barriers to your c-section and let fresh air circulate around your body. (Important: ONLY when your doctor approves that it’s safe to do so)

Some mothers prefer to have a partner help air-dry the area with a hairdryer in the cool setting. Ask them to hold your belly up while doing so; don’t tape your stomach up as it could result in tearing or stretching. Alternatively, use a fan directed at your incision spot for some cool, refreshing air. 

Take it slow

We think you might hear you laughing at us with this one. “With a new baby?!” you’re asking. We get it. It’s a busy, life-changing time, but remember that you’ve undergone surgery, and your body deserves to rest and heal.

Doctors typically recommend abstaining from heavy lifting, exercise, or strenuous activities for six weeks to reduce pressure or sweating near the area. In addition, take time to rest whenever possible, and ask for help when needed. 

Healing from a cesarean section is time intensive, and you must be patient throughout the healing process. While keeping the incision dry is a must for any c-section wound, there is an additional need to prioritize it when overweight.

Take the time to care for your incision correctly to reduce the chance of infection and increase your enjoyment of motherhood.

As with any medical care, it is best to run things by your doctor before trying something new to ensure that it fits your care plan.   

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