Self Massage & C-section Recovery

by Brood

Content Warning: This post contains graphic discussions of birth and surgery.
Hello there! I’m Janelle, a registered massage therapist and postpartum doula with a deep passion for supporting birthers after a cesarean. Whether you are planning a cesarean birth, had an unplanned cesarean or have had a c-section years ago, I want you to feel empowered and connected to your body after having a surgical birth.

The first step to feeling empowered and connected to ourselves is knowledge. To support you in learning, I have written two blog posts; the first is full of c-section recovery tips, while here, I’ll share the benefits of self-massage after a cesarean. If you want to learn more about c-sections in general, check out A Doula’s Guide to C-sections here.

Now let’s dive in!

When a surgical birth occurs, layers of tissue such as skin, fascia, nerves and muscles have been cut and pulled apart. Once healing begins, scar tissue begins to form to close each incision. As scars form, so can restrictions and adhesions causing tension or pulling at the scar and surrounding structures.

People who have had a cesarean can experience changes in sensation such as increased sensitivity or numbness around the scar. Scars can contribute to back pain, hip pain, incorrect breathing patterns, constipation, and pelvic floor issues such as urinary urgency and pelvic pain, even during intercourse. Issues can be experienced even years after surgery so it’s never too late to make a difference in your scar.

Now here’s where massage therapy comes into play. Massage therapy or touch can support healing on so many levels. It can help us reconnect with our body, lean into sensations and acknowledge the journey your body has been through. Touch stimulates nerves which helps decrease pain, numbness, sensitivity and itching. It can soften and release scar tissue which can decrease pulling or tugging sensations and improve the appearance of your scar.

Massage helps with the mobility of the layers of tissues as they repair from being cut during surgery. Increased mobility between the tissue layers means less restriction and tension to surrounding structures. It can help reconnect the abdomen allowing for easier core engagement, improved posture, decreased back or hip pain, if present and improved pelvic floor function.

Massaging a cesarean scar can improve the appearance of the scar making it appear flatter, less red and less adhered, which in turn can decrease the appearance of an overhang also known as an apron belly or pannus stomach.

Mobilizing the tissues through massage when healing helps with tissue repair. A scar that can move independently of the surrounding structures means there are fewer restrictions and tension – often leading to less pain and discomfort.

Wondering how to massage your tummy and scar after a cesarean? I have created a step-by-step guide that teaches you how to massage your scar. 

Check out The Cesarean Recovery Guide I created and learn how to massage your tummy and scar at any point in your healing journey. And as someone who is in the Brood universe, enter code BROOD23 at checkout to save 20% off the guide!

If you want to know more about me, you can follow along on Instagram There I share c-section healing tips as well as general motherhood musings. You can also check out for more.


Looking for more resources about massage for c-sections?

C-section Scar Massage: A Step-by-step Guide

Csection Scar Massage

Pregnancy & Postpartum Physiotherapy

Brood’s C-section Massage: Step by Step


Hello! I’m Janelle Fontaine. Registered massage therapist and mama of two young boys. I have a deep passion for supporting birthing folks through massage therapy, postpartum support and online education in the childbearing years. As a care provider both at work and at home, what deeply nourishes me is time spent on my bike – you’ll often find me riding my longtail bike with the two kids in tow or in the garden growing dahlias. I love movement, often choosing to lift weights or dance as a way to feel strong and free. And my favourite way to decompress is a hot cup of tea.

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We work and live on the unceded and occupied territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. Since time immemorial, the original peoples of these lands have cared for their families and communities. We are committed to honouring their teachings, legacy and their sovereignty.


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