Pregnancy and childbirth are some of the most miraculous, life-changing experiences a woman can go through. But for many women, the aftermath of giving birth – whether through vaginal delivery or c-section – is marked by debilitating pain and unexpected side effects. One such side effect that can occur after a c-section is permanent numbness in the abdominal area.
It’s actually normal to feel numbness after a c section. Most of the time, it’s just temporary. But what if you’re still feeling numbness long after your surgery? Is that normal? And more importantly, is there anything you can do about it? This blog post will explore permanent numbness after c section and look at some possible causes and treatments. We hope this information helps you feel better informed and empowered as you navigate through this new stage in your life.
What is C Section:
A c-section is the surgical delivery of a baby. It’s also called a cesarean section. In general, everyone thinks there is only one incision or one cut done in the c section operation. But in a c section operation, two incisions are made—one on the abdomen and another through your uterus.
So overall, it’s a surgical procedure in which the baby is delivered through incisions made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.
When C Section Is Necessary:
The most common reason for a C-section is prolonging labor. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly one-third of all CESAREANS is due to this issue!
It is a condition where a pregnant mother lacks the ability to proceed with childbirth after going into labor. For first-time mothers, prolonged labor can last over 20 hours. For women who have already given birth before then, it will be around 14 hours long.
The factors that can cause prolonged labor are many and varied, including a large baby or delivery of multiple babies. Small birth canal or pelvis size also contributes significantly; emotional stress and worry could be some other potential explanations as well.
In such cases, where labor has stopped or not been progressing as it should be, doctors may consider a cesarean section for the safety of both mother and child.
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The Baby Is in Fetal Distress
Fetal distress is a sign that something may not be right with your baby. It can happen when the infant doesn’t receive enough oxygen through their placenta, which could lead to decreased fetal heart rate. In such a situation, Your doctor may perform an emergency cesarean.
Abnormal Positioning of Baby in The Womb:
When a baby is in the womb, its position can change sometimes. For example, they might be in a breech position where their feet or butt are toward the birth canal or a transverse (sideways) position rather than headfirst near the birth canal. The C section may provide the safest way to deliver a child in such a situation.
Issues With Placenta:
The placenta is an organ that forms in pregnancy and provides the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. It also removes waste products from the baby’s blood.
When things go wrong with the placenta, such as placenta previa or placental abruption, it’s recommended to deliver by C-section.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, 1 in every 200 pregnant women ( .50% ) are likely to experience placenta previa, and for Placental abruption, the rate is around one percent.
The placenta previa is a condition in which the baby’s placenta covers part or all of the mother’s cervix. This can lead to severe bleeding during pregnancy and delivery.
Placental abruption happens when the placenta separates early from the uterine lining, causing a decrease or blockage of oxygen and nutrients supply for the baby. It may also cause bleeding in the mother.
Issues With Umbilical Cord:
The umbilical cord is like a pipeline, carrying food and oxygen from mom to her child throughout pregnancy. Some issues with the umbilical cord may result in a C section.
Like, when the umbilical cord is pinched, it could adversely affect the oxygen supply of the baby.
Another issue could be umbilical cord prolapse, where the unborn baby’s cord slips through the mother’s open cervix and into the vagina before the baby moves into the canal. As a result, the blood supply of the baby is reduced and leads to a lack of oxygen for the baby. According to this study the statistics of occurrence of umbilical cord prolapse is very mere, around .20% or two per thousand deliveries. What is scarier is the death rate of babies in umbilical cord prolapse, around 6.8 percent!
It is very common for doctors to perform emergency cesareans in such situations.
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Medical Condition of Mother:
Some medical conditions make vaginal birth very complicated, like high blood pressure, heart disease, brain condition, or diabetes. The doctor may choose a cesarean section to avoid risk in these cases.
If the mother has an active infection, like HIV or genital herpes, it is possible that she could transfer these viruses during vaginal delivery. A cesarean section may be recommended in this situation because doctors want to ensure no infections are passed from a mother-to-child via vaginal delivery.
The ability of vaginal delivery of a mother can be affected by injuries like a pelvic fracture. Also, a c-section might be necessary if the mom has a large fibroid obstructing her passage.
When a pregnant mother had a previous c-section or had other surgeries on her uterus, the doctor may suggest a c section once again, depending on the mother’s situation. For example, If the mother is experiencing the same crisis that made c section necessary in the past event, she gained excessive weight in pregnancy or passed the due date. In such cases, the doctor usually plans a c section.
It’s worth mentioning here that according to the American Pregnancy Association, about 9 out 10 women can have their next baby vaginally after a c-section. Another study has found that roughly 60-80% of women can successfully give birth vaginally after having had a cesarean delivery.
The decision on vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) must always involve consultation with an experienced medical professional who can help guide toward what might work based on individual circumstances.
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Birth defects refer to problems that occur while babies develop in the mother’s body. These are a category of health conditions that can be present from the time a baby is born. These defects create problems for the overall health and development of the baby and also result in changing the shape and function of one or even more body parts of the baby.
Some birth defects make vaginal delivery very complicated. For example, excess fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus) or congenital heart diseases can lead to complications during childbirth and may require a C section for safety reasons.
What Is C Section Numbness:
Numbness in the cesarean scar and skin around it is very common.
As we discussed earlier, when a doctor performs an abdominal c-section, they make two cuts. The first cuts through the outer layer of your abdomen, and the second one goes all the way into the uterus to reach for the baby.
Like other surgical procedures, cutting into some nerves in the process of c section is pretty inevitable.
When a section wound heals, it gets replaced by fibrous (scar) tissue. The scar tissue has no nerves. That’s why the patient feels numbness in the scar or the skin near it.
How Long C Section Numbness Lasts:
Over time your nerves will regenerate into scar tissue, and you might start noticing sensations again. The amount of time it takes for this process varies from woman to woman.
Sometimes 4-8 weeks pass before nerves have regenerated enough so you can feel again! For some mothers, the numbness may last from six months to one year.
It’s worth mentioning here that total recovery does not always happen. We have received reports on the partial recovery of numbness or even a very long period of numbness.
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Permanent Numbness After C Section:
Is c section numbness permanent?
Does C section numbness ever go away?
Two very common questions, but the answer is not quite straightforward.
We have read that one mother experienced numbness from the birth of her first child thirteen years back, which only got worse with each subsequent (two more) c-section.
Another mother reported that she has been numb for fifteen years, even though she had two Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) after her very first c section.
So, it’s possible that you will experience numbness for a very long time, if not permanently. But this doesn’t necessarily indicate anything wrong, as we’ve learned from various mothers who are living normally with lengthy periods of numbness near the incision.
Sometimes women need to use hot water packs in their abdomen to relieve monthly menstrual pain. It is important to be extra cautious while doing so if you experience numbness in the area, as you may burn your skin due to the loss of sensitivity in the abdomen area.
Screenshot Taken From netmums.com
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How To Deal With Numbness around your C-Section Scar
A soft cloth is taken (face cloth or baby washcloth), folded, and rubbed by its edge towards the C-section area. The fabric needs to be moved towards the cut, not necessarily touching over the cut but rather to move towards it back and forth.
We can try it in the same way with a dry brush. The brush should be positioned horizontally to the cut, and the bristles should go downwards smoothly. Initially, one doesn’t have to move the brush over the scar till six weeks. Once it reaches the doorstep of twelve weeks, one can take the chance of moving the dry brush over the scar now and can rub past gently.
The next thing one can try is through a comb, which has two different sizes of bristles. The fat bristles are the ones that have more gaps in them than the thin bristles, which are more clustered. So we take the comb in a horizontal position and will take the fat bristles side since this side is the less stimulating one. Then eventually, we rub it back and forth, moving it closer to the scar. Repeat the same method with the thin bristles again.
If one doesn’t find any comb or brush nearby, what’s most easygoing is that one takes an exfoliating hand glove and rubs it towards the scar. The same way was suggested by using the comb and the brush.
Scar massage may also be very helpful in bringing the sensation back after a c section.
Permanent numbness after c section is real deal, and it can be pretty confusing for new moms. We’ve looked at the cause and what could be done for this condition.
But we want to know what you think. Have you experienced permanent numbness after giving birth? What kind of treatment did you receive? Let us know how much you like our effort in the comments below, and be sure to share with your friends who are pregnant or have recently given birth!
The information on this website is not intended to replace professional medical advice and should never be taken as such. Instead, it should only serve as a starting point for discussing the well-being of your health. We highly recommend you discuss any concerns or questions regarding your and your family’s health or medical conditions with a doctor or a licensed healthcare provider.
Yea I have permanent numbness up to my belly button. I had a c-section 11 years ago & 3 successful vbacs. No repeat C-section. Mentioned it to the doctor & they just said “it happens.” There’s nothing than can be done apparently. Or so I’m told. Or maybe they just don’t want to deal with me anymore. Who knows? Lol.
Still numb 7.5 years after emergency c section. Just up over belly button area. No treatment.
Numb from belly button to scar. Last section 4 years ago, had 3 in total but only lost feeling after last one. I have been weight training for over a year and working out for 2. Notice a slight difference in stomach but not much. Will continue to work hard to fix my stomach naturally before I consider a tummy tuck.