Caesarean sections are a major abdominal surgery that involves multiple layers of skin, muscle and abdominal fat being cut. Up to 15% of mothers may experience persistent pain following healing for a c-section (Williams, E 2023).  Though your obstetrician will try their best to avoid major nerves, sometimes the smaller nerves can be injured during the procedure. You might find yourself asking what would it feel like or what would I be experiencing if my nerves were injured during my caesarean procedure?

Symptoms of Nerve Pain after Caesarean:

  • Pain
  • Numbness/tingling
  • Pulling sensation at the scar site
  • Altered sensation over the incision and surrounding tissue.

The 3 main nerves that are likely involved if you experience any of the above symptoms are:

  • Ilioinguinal nerve
  • Iliohypogasgtric nerve
  • Genitofemoral nerve

These nerves supply to individual areas of the pubic region, labia, abdominal muscles and portions of the thigh. If any of these nerves are injured during a c-section then these areas are most likely affected.

Women can experience these symptoms for 3-6 months after the procedure. However, 11% of women may experience symptoms for up to 12 months. This occurs as the incision site heals the nerves may become trapped within scar tissue or get stuck to the abdominal wall, leading to tingling, numbness, or pain.

The below advice outlines recommendations for abdominal care post c-section:

  • Myofascial release to the surrounding incision areas
  • Pelvic stretches or pelvic nerve glide exercises

An article by Gilbert, I 2022 reported that mobilization of a c-section scar once a week for 2 weeks improves the quality of scar and pain characteristics.

During your postnatal assessment always ensure to bring up any symptoms you aren’t sure are normal with your health car practitioner. They will be able to guide you through treatment options to ensure that any future issues may be avoided. Working with your women’s health physiotherapist will enable assistance with not just pelvic floor rehabilitation but also scar management.

Reach out today if you have any concerns about your postnatal journey.

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Gilbert I, Gaudreault N, Gaboury I. Exploring the Effects of Standardized Soft Tissue Mobilization on the Viscoelastic Properties, Pressure Pain Thresholds, and Tactile Pressure Thresholds of the Cesarean Section Scar. J Integr Complement Med. 2022 Apr;28(4):355-362. doi: 10.1089/jicm.2021.0178. Epub 2022 Jan 13. PMID: 35426735; PMCID: PMC9051872.