An abdominal scar and pregnancy

How the scars from abdominal surgery will affect women in pregnancy has been outlined in three posts on this blogsite, and all may be accessed via the “Categories” box on the right of this page.

The first post on the effect of an abdominal surgical scar on pregnancy was added here in 2011 when I dealt with adhesions, inflexible strands of scar tissue forming a web between the scar and abdominal tissue, muscle and organs.  Adhesions are most common cause of extra itching and pain during pregnancy, and sometimes even some bleeding.  They can also cause trouble apart from the rigours of pregnancy.

The second post outlined what can be expected and the overview was generally reassuring: surgery scars will quite likely make your pregnancy more eventful in any of several ways, but are very unlikely to be a major problem.

This post was followed a week later by a third one.  My wife of over 40 years and I have parented four  wonderful children, all of them happily married and with their own kids, I have also worked with people of all ages and many situations of life in a church context, and have read widely for 15 years before blogging on the subjects of this site.  Nevertheless, I am a male, and not a family doctor, so that writing about an aspect of pregnancy prompted me to decide it was important to let a careful sample of women “speak” about how their abdominal surgery affected their carrying a baby and giving birth.

One of the things missing from these three posts is what I have done in my previous two blogs.  Here I want to pass on another selection of photos:  images which mothers have posted on their blogsite or a pregnancy forum to reassure interested readers about how their growing belly and scar may be affected.  Most have been able to post their story in a relaxed way, some even with pride or in fun, and perhaps others with some misgivings.  I and I trust many others will be grateful to them all – sharing usually reduces our fears.

The Shape of a Mother is a great blog for you if you are interested or concerned about this issue.  One of the posts there comes from Fiona, who tells readers about her harrowing emergency appendectomy during her first pregnancy; her scar was stretched and keloided somewhat (which it might have done anyway) but thankfully it didn’t rupture or cause major after-griefs.  And here is a link to Fiona’s update.  Audrey’s story and photos (one which is included below) may also be worth reading in full.

What I have written before will become even clearer with these photos, namely that –

  • abdominal scars take on a life of their own as a surgical wound heals;
  • they will be affected by pregnancy but being made of tough, even hard scar tissue they will often stretch less than the surrounding skin and muscle layers;
  • some will do something like shatter, breaking up to some extent; and
  • none show obvious signs of trouble.

I trust that these images and the information and experiences given in earlier posts will clarify and reassure.  Heartfelt thanks are due to the 10 women who have allowed their images to be posted – I am sure to reassure others.  To these women I say:  Thank you!  And if you would like my caption to be altered or your photo withdrawn, please contact me (via the About tab).

Click on an image if you want to enlarge it.

And please consider sharing your own story as a Comment – or send me an email to have it posted.

RUQ PS and glbldr scars

This woman had PS surgery as a baby, and a gallbladder removal as well as several children in her adult years.

Upr transv PS 36w

This transverse pyloromyotomy scar looks good at 36 weeks

Upr transv PS scar 37 wks

Another transverse scar after PS surgery – at 37 weeks and even tidier

Transv scar2

This scar may be relatively new or may have reddened from stretching, but it’s fine

Transv scar1

Pregnancy does not seem to have affected these vertical and transverse scars from more complex surgery

Lwr midline scar

A lower midline scar and one from appendix surgery – the first is very indented but pregnancy does not seem to have widened it

Upr midline inf surg

Unspecified infant surgery and a Cesarian birth left these incision and feeding tube scars – large but not due to pregnancy

Upr midline PS scar

This midline scar from PS surgery has remained tidy

Para-midline PS scar

A para-midline PS scar, looking fine and unchanged by pregnancy

Para-midline PS 28 wks

Finally, another para-midline PS scar, sunken and less tidy but also not obviously affected by pregnancy

3 thoughts on “An abdominal scar and pregnancy

  1. Wendy

    So very helpful. Thanks for caring about women and women’s health, which connects to everyone’s health! That blog The Shape of a Mother, at first read, seems wonderful! Great resource.

  2. Linnea

    This was helpful. I’ve been scared to have kids because I have a scar on my stomach due to my Cullen [“colon” – editor] – I know I spelt it wrong, but it erupted when I was 11 and I had to get 25% of my lower intestine and 25% of my Cullen removed
    Crazy, but I always thought that it would burst if I got pregnant, but now I feel better about it.

    1. Fred Vanderbom Post author

      Thank you Linnea, for this thumbs up. It’s comments like yours that help make my reading and blogging so worthwhile. I’m glad that reading the stories and seeing some photos have helped to reassure you that pregnancy wouldn’t be a disaster for you. There may be some extra discomfort for you and things for the doctor to check, but you will be fine. Best wishes!


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