C-section Scar Smells: Why It Happens and What To Do

A c-section is a surgical procedure in which the surgeon makes an incision through a woman’s abdomen and uterus.

Such a major surgical procedure makes women’s bodies prone to infection.

That is why keeping your c-section incision clean is crucial.

If your c-section scar smells, this will likely be a sign of infection that needs medical attention.

Let’s take a closer look at what you should do if your c-section scar smells and what the signs of infection are.

Is It Normal If My C-section Incision Smells?

No, it is not normal to have a smell coming from your c section incision. If you are regularly cleaning and drying your wound, there is no reason for it to smell. So, a persistent smell that occurs even after showering may indicate an infection.

The presence of any of the following signs suggests infection and warrants immediate medical attention:

  • A smelly wound
  • Fever
  • Pus
  • Redness or swelling around the wound

So, if you notice an unpleasant odour coming from your scar, consult your doctor right away.

How To Know If Your C-Section Scar Smells Due To An Infection?

If your c-section scar smells, there are a few things to look out for.

First of all, if you experience an abnormal amount of swelling around the wound site, it could be a sign that you have an infection.

You could also experience pain at the wound site, abdominal discomfort combined with fever-like symptoms, leaking fluid from the wound, or redness around the incision itself.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to get in touch with your doctor right away.

Infections after c-sections can be treated with antibiotics, so don’t hesitate to speak up if something doesn’t seem right-your health and well-being are worth it!

Other signs:


A fever is your body’s way of fighting infection, so it’s important not to ignore it.

If you have a temperature over 100.4°F, a headache, chills, sweating, are dehydrated, or have fatigue and muscle aches, you must seek medical assistance immediately.

Fever is often the first sign that something is wrong following surgery. It can be dangerous to your health if left untreated.

Scar feels hot to the touch

If the scar feels hot to the touch, this is usually an indication that it is not healing correctly.

You may have a c-section incision scar infection if your scar:

  • Is swollen
  • Is red or has a rash
  • Is painful or tender to the touch


The presence of pus at the incision site is abnormal. Pus or any other liquid coming from your incision indicates an infection that, if left untreated, could lead to septic shock.

Flu symptoms

When you have the flu, you might experience some or all of the following symptoms

  • Shivers
  • Sneezing,
  • Coughing
  • extreme fatigue
  • nausea

Again, these are all signs that can indicate an infection in your c-section incision scar, so please see your doctor for evaluation.

Chest pain and difficulty breathing

While chest pain and difficulty breathing can be symptoms of a c-section incision scar infection, they could also be indicative of other problems.

If you are experiencing shortness of breath, it is important to seek medical attention right away, as this could be a sign that the infection is spreading.

How to care for my c-section incision at home to help prevent infection

It’s normal to be worried about your C-section scar getting infected.

But don’t worry — there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the risk of infection and keep the area clean. Here are a few tips:

Stick to gentle movements

Now that you’re home with your new baby, it’s important to take things slowly.

You don’t want to overdo it and risk getting an infection. Gentle exercise is key in the early weeks post-c-section.

Stick to a light walk until you reach six weeks postpartum; this will help keep your incision healthy and prevent infection.

Do not lift heavy stuff

When you’re recovering from a c-section, it’s important to avoid lifting anything heavy.

This is because the skin around your wound is vulnerable to tears, and heavy lifting involves using your core.

So, if you lift something heavy, you could end up with an infection around your c-section incision.

It’s okay to lift small objects—just make sure that you are gentle when doing so.

Regularly clean your incision site

It is very important to clean your wound daily with soap and warm water.

This will help reduce the chance of infection.

Be sure to gently pat dry rather than rub, as rubbing can put stress on the wound and make it more susceptible to becoming infected.

Your midwife should provide specific care advice for your c-section incision at home.

Avoid tight clothes

When you go home after your c-section, make sure to wear loose-fitting clothes.

This will allow your scar the space it needs to heal properly.

Wearing too tight clothes can pull on the weakened scar tissue, leading to an infection manifesting.

Eat nutritious food

Make sure to eat healthily to help prevent infection.

The foods you eat can impact the severity of your infection, so focus on nutrient-dense, healthy meals for recovery.

Stay hydrated

It is important to stay hydrated when you are recovering from a c-section.

Drinking lots of water helps your body get rid of toxins and fight infections.

Drink at least eight glasses of water per day, more if you are active.

You should also avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol, as they can dehydrate you.

Water alone will not cure an infection, but it can help recover from it.

What Other Things Can I Do To Avoid C Section Scar Smells And Infections?

The best way to avoid infections is to keep the wound clean—this means avoiding exposure to unsterile environments whenever possible.

Aureus is one of the bacteria that can cause wound infections after C-sections; avoiding contact with it will help reduce your risk of infection. Practising good hygiene habits will also minimise your exposure to this type of bacteria.

In addition:

  1. Make sure you’re following all of your doctor’s post-operative instructions carefully. This includes abstaining from smoking, which can increase your risk for infection.
  2. If possible, try to stay away from people who show symptoms of the flu. Germs can easily spread and cause an infection in an open wound like your C-section scar.
  3. Stick to taking all prescribed medications, even if you’re feeling better. This includes antibiotics, pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory drugs.

Are there any over-the-counter products that can help get rid of the odour from a c-section scar?

No, you should not simply rely on over-the-counter products to help get rid of the odour from a c-section scar.

The smell coming from your c-section incision indicates infection,  so it is best to speak to your doctor rather than resort to a DIY.

Can I get an infected c-section scar years later?

It is possible for a c-section scar to become infected years after the surgery.

This is rare, but it can happen.

Every mother’s body heals at a different pace, so don’t worry if yours takes longer than someone else’s to heal fully.

Just be sure to check in on your scar regularly and follow your doctor’s instructions for healing properly.


If you are experiencing a foul smell coming from your c-section scar, it is important to seek medical attention.

This could be a sign of infection and should be treated by a professional.