Caesarean Section: how to massage scar

How to massage a caesarean scar

Around 1 in 4 births in Australia are done via Caesarean section. 

Caesarean sections have become increasingly common in Australia over the years, reflecting changes in maternal health practices and childbirth preferences. According to recent statistics, approximately 1 in 3 of births in Australia are delivered via C-section

Several factors contribute to the rising rates of C-sections in Australia, including:

  • Maternal age and health conditions
  • Foetal presentation and positioning
  • Previous C-sections or obstetric history
  • Provider and hospital practices
  • Maternal preferences and birth plans

What are the stages of tissue healing?

  1. Haemostasis – As soon as the injury occurs, blood rushes to the wound and clotting occurs, stopping the bleed.
  2. Inflammation – There is heat, pain, swelling and redness as cells are sent to repair the wound. Days 0-4
  3. Proliferation – The tissue around the wound contracts, drawing the wound smaller and closing the skin. Day 4-21
  4. Remodelling – Collagen fibres re-organise to provide strength and flexibility. This process can continue for up to 2 years. 

The stages of tissue healing


Why is scar tissue massage recommended?

  • Our abdominal wall and tissues need to be flexible to allow for normal movement patterns
  • Massage increases scar tissue mobility and elasticity 
  • Massage helps to prevent adhesions forming between abdominal tissues, muscles and organs
  • Massage can reduce pain by desensitising the area
  • Massage can improve scar appearance 

When can I start?

Scar tissue massage can begin from 6 weeks post C-section. Massage is most effective in the 6 months postpartum, however you can still benefit from scar tissue massage even if it has been months or years since your C-section. It can take up to 2 years for the scar to fully heal and mature. 

How do I massage my scar?

  • Massage should be done directly over the scar and on surrounding tissues. 
  • Use your fingers to move the skin in multiple directions – up/down, side to side, zig-zagging and circular motions.
  • Use enough pressure to feel a stretching sensation, but it should not cause pain.

How can a Women’s Health Physio help?

  • Assessing the scar – how it is healing, tissue flexibility, identifying excess scar tissue or adhesions
  • Scar tissue massage and instruction on scar tissue massage techniques
  • Use of a c-section roller 
  • Stretches to restore normal range of movement 
  • Assessing for Diastasis Recti (separation of abdominal muscles)
  • Restoring normal abdominal muscle strength and function