Pregnancy belly button hernia

Hernia During Pregnancy

As your belly grows, it’s common for your innie belly button to pop out and become an outie, a new badge of your pregnancy. But occasionally, that popping navel — during pregnancy, or after childbirth — can signal a hernia.

Most hernias are no big cause for concern. But it’s important to let your health care practitioner know if you have new bulges or aches in your abdomen throughout pregnancy and in the days after you have your baby.

What is a hernia during pregnancy?

A hernia is a small hole in the abdominal wall, which usually holds your tissues and organs — including your stomach and intestines — tightly inside you. As your tummy grows and stretches during pregnancy, the pressure on the abdominal wall increases, and tiny holes there that never caused problems before can become larger, or new hernias can form.

If you have a hernia, you’ll probably notice a soft lump around your belly button, or sometimes in your groin area. It might be dull and achy, and hurt more when you’re active, cough, sneeze or bend over.

As long as your hernia isn’t causing you severe pain or protruding out too far, it will probably repair itself after you have your baby. There are no risks to you or your baby in just leaving the hernia be.

If it starts causing you excruciating pain, or you notice it sticking out further than it has in the past, it may be a sign that the hernia has become “strangulated” or trapped in your abdominal wall. If left untreated, these hernias can lose blood supply, damaging your intestines, so you may require more aggressive treatment or surgery.

Hernias during labor

Most women with hernias can have a normal, healthy vaginal delivery. If you have a small hernia, your practitioner will still likely recommend you labor as you would otherwise. But in some cases — if you’ve had a previous C-section or have a hernia that’s particularly large or low in your abdomen, for example — your doctor may suggest a C-section to deliver your baby.

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Rarely, a hernia can appear during or immediately after labor, rather than while your belly is growing throughout pregnancy. That’s because it takes lots of abdominal pressure to push a baby out, which can sometimes cause a hernia.

Can a hernia during pregnancy or labor hurt my baby?

A hernia during pregnancy or labor won’t directly hurt your baby, who’s cozied up inside your uterus, so a small hole in your abdominal wall has no effect on him or her. Even if you feel sore, your baby can’t tell! But if the condition is affecting your ability to eat, talk to your health care provider about how to make sure you’re getting the proper nutrition, as your baby needs lots of nutrients to grow.

FOR YOU: The Pregnancy Diet

What are the different types of hernias?

There are a couple of different kinds of hernias that can crop up when you’re expecting:

  • Umbilical Hernias are the most common type of hernia during pregnancy and occur right at your belly button, when your intestines bulge through the front of the abdominal wall.
  • Paraumbilical Hernias are near, but not at, your navel.
  • Inguinal Hernias are less common and occur when your groin muscle is weakened by the pressure from your uterus and tissue bulging through it.

When should I be concerned?

If you have any of the following symptoms, you should make an appointment with your OB/GYN to make sure your hernia hasn’t blocked your intestines or become strangulated:

  • Increased pain at the hernia site that does not resolve with rest
  • A hernia bulge that protrudes, can’t be pushed back in, and is painful.
  • Nausea and vomiting at the same time as a painful hernia bulge that’s red and tender to the touch.

Who is at risk for hernias?

Most hernias are congenital, meaning they’re present at birth. You may simply not notice a hernia until it expands during pregnancy, so anyone can develop one. However, certain factors can make you more prone:

  • Expecting more than one baby
  • Prior pregnancies, especially those ending in long labors
  • Previous hernia that was repaired
  • Obesity during pregnancy

How is a hernia treated during pregnancy?

In most cases, your practitioner will recommend “watchful waiting,” or keeping an eye on your hernia without any treatment. If the bulge bothers you, you can try wearing a belly band to hold it in, or massaging it back in towards your stomach.

After you have your baby, your doctor will give you some exercises to help your abdominal muscles heal from the strain of pregnancy. If your hernia still isn’t repaired after you do those for the recommended amount of time, surgery may be considered a few months or more postpartum.

Surgery during pregnancy is only recommended if your hernia becomes strangulated and puts you at risk. However, if you’re having a planned C-section and have a large hernia, some practitioners may suggest getting it repaired surgically during your C-section.

If you’re expecting and develop a hernia, try not to stress about it too much. It won’t hurt baby, and the risks to you are minimal. Just talk to your doctor regularly about how you feel and what to do, and chances are good you’ll have a normal, healthy pregnancy and delivery.

What to Do if You Get a Hernia During Pregnancy

Treating a Hernia During Pregnancy

There’s no strong consensus about the best time to repair a hernia in pregnant women, according to an article published in January 2018 in the journal Frontiers in Surgery. (2)

If your hernia is small and isn’t causing any unpleasant symptoms, you and your doctor may decide to wait until after you give birth to repair it.

But if your hernia is causing you discomfort, most doctors will recommend repairing it while you’re still pregnant.

And if your hernia develops a complication, like becoming trapped or strangulated, emergency surgery will be necessary. (2)

In the absence of an emergency, the following options may be available to treat or manage your hernia during pregnancy:

Elective Repair During Pregnancy

Your doctor may propose surgically repairing your hernia while you’re still pregnant if it’s causing you symptoms, or if it’s large enough to risk developing complications.

The exact timing of your surgery isn’t likely to follow any specific rules. Some doctors recommend it during the first or second trimester, while others believe that the second trimester is the optimal time to operate.

If your hernia is repaired using only sutures — without using steel mesh to support the area of weakened muscle — then the risk of your hernia coming back during your pregnancy is high.

But using mesh in the operation can limit the flexibility of your abdominal wall and cause pain, both during your current pregnancy and in any future one.

Hernia repair surgery during pregnancy is considered to be a safe procedure. As outlined in the Frontiers in Surgery report, in one study of umbilical hernia repair in 126 pregnant women, few side effects and no pregnancy losses were reported within 30 days of the surgery. (2)

Hernia Repair During a C-Section

If you don’t have a particularly severe hernia and plan to give birth by Caesarian section (C-section), you may be able to have your hernia repaired at the same time.

The Frontiers in Surgery article notes that combining a hernia repair with a C-section seems to result in a longer overall procedure to repair the inguinal hernias, but not for umbilical hernias — meaning that it takes no longer than a regular C-section.

Just as with elective repair during pregnancy, using only sutures to perform a repair during a C-section appears to carry a greater risk of hernia recurrence than using steel mesh. (2)

Hernia Repair After Childbirth

For mild hernias, you and your doctor may decide not to repair your hernia during a C-section for a number of reasons, including if you’re planning another pregnancy.

Hernia repair can be done as a separate procedure as soon as five to eight weeks after you give birth, or it can be delayed for a year or longer to allow your body to recover more fully from your pregnancy.

In this situation, delaying a hernia repair for up to five years appears to be safe as long as you continue to look out for hernia enlargement and complications, according to the Frontiers in Surgery article. (2)


Umbilical hernia repair

When is surgery needed?

If necessary, umbilical hernias can be treated with surgery to push the bulge back into place and strengthen the weakness in the abdominal wall.

This operation may be recommended for your child if the hernia is large or hasn’t disappeared by the time they reach 3 or 4 years old.

You’ll usually be advised to wait for your child to reach this age because the operation isn’t essential unless there are complications. The risk of your child developing complications is very low.

Surgery is recommended for most adults with an umbilical hernia because the hernia is unlikely to get better by itself when you’re older and the risk of complications is higher.

Complications that can develop as a result of an umbilical hernia include:

  • obstruction – where a section of the bowel becomes stuck outside the abdomen, causing nausea, vomiting and pain
  • strangulation – where a section of bowel becomes trapped and its blood supply is cut off; this requires emergency surgery within hours to release the trapped tissue and restore its blood supply so it doesn’t die

Surgery will get rid of the hernia and prevent any serious complications, although there’s a chance of it returning after the operation.

Pregnancy Symptoms & Complaints: Umbilical Hernia

What causes an umbilical hernia in pregnancy?

Nearly all pregnant women get an “outie” navel during pregnancy- but in a few cases, the navel protrudes so much that it is considered a rupture, or “umbilical hernia.” This condition, which also occurs in newborns and young children, rarely cause problems or requires surgery.

What relieves an umbilical hernia in pregnancy?

Talk to your healthcare provider if you think you might have an umbilical hernia, but don’t worry- in most cases, you should get your “innie” back after your baby is born.

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What Is It?

A hernia occurs when part of an internal organ or body part protrudes through an opening into another area where it ordinarily should not be located. There are many different types of hernias, but the most common is when a portion of the intestine protrudes through a weak area in the muscular wall of the abdomen. This causes an abnormal bulge under the skin of the abdomen, usually near the groin or the navel.

Hernias occur in various locations. Some hernias are present at birth, while others develop during adulthood. Hernias may enlarge due to increased pressure inside the abdomen, such as during straining, persistent coughing, obesity, or pregnancy.

  • Inguinal hernia — A portion of intestine or internal fat protrudes through a weakness in the inguinal canal. The inguinal canal is a natural passageway through the abdominal wall in the groin. In males, the inguinal canal contains the blood vessels that go to the testicle and the duct that carries sperm from the testicle. Inguinal hernias account for 75% of all hernias and are five times more common in males than females. They may be present in infants but can develop in adults also.

  • Femoral hernia — This is a hernia through the passage that contains the large blood vessels (the femoral artery and vein) between the abdomen and the thigh. This type of hernia causes a bulge in the upper thigh just under the groin and is more common in women than men.

  • Epigastric hernia — A small bit of fat bulges through a weakness in the upper abdominal muscles between the navel and breastbone. Most people with such hernias are between ages 20 and 50. These hernias are often so small that they may go unnoticed.

  • Umbilical hernia — Intestine or fat bulges through the abdominal wall under the navel. The area of weakness in the abdominal wall can be very small (less than half an inch) or it can be as large as 2 to 3 inches. Umbilical hernias are common in newborns but may disappear gradually over time. They may also occur in adults who are overweight or in women who have been pregnant many times.

  • Incisional hernia — Intestine bulges through a weakness in the abdominal wall in an area where there has been previous surgery. The skin has healed, but the underlying muscle has pulled apart, resulting in a hernia. These hernias can be small or quite large.

  • Ventral hernia — This is a general term that can refer to an epigastric, umbilical or incisional hernia.

  • Hiatus hernia — This hernia involves the stomach rather than the intestine. The stomach slips upward through the normal opening in the diaphragm and passes into the chest. It is often associated with acid reflux, or “gastroesophageal reflux disease” (GERD), which causes heartburn.


Most hernias cause a bulge under the skin (except hiatus hernias). The location of this bulge depends on the specific type of hernia. For example, an inguinal hernia appears as a bulge in the groin, while an umbilical hernia appears as a bulge near the navel. Some hernias can cause twinges of pain or a pulling sensation, but most do not cause pain. Hernias are usually easier to see with coughing or straining. They also tend to be more prominent with standing and often disappear with lying down.

A hernia is considered “incarcerated” if a portion of intestine becomes trapped in the hernia and is unable to slide back into the abdomen. Rarely, the trapped intestine can “strangulate.” This means that the contained intestine dies because its blood supply has been cut off by the constriction of the hernia. This causes severe pain and requires urgent surgery.


Most people discover their own hernias by noticing a bulge. Sometimes, however, your doctor will find a small hernia as part of a routine examination. Your doctor makes the diagnosis by physical examination. He or she may ask you to strain or cough (especially while standing), which may make the bulge easier to see or feel.

Rarely, you may have symptoms that suggest a hernia, but the doctor will be unable to find one at the time of examination. In these circumstances, your doctor may recommend a computer tomography (CT) scan or an ultrasound of the abdomen.

Expected Duration

Most hernias stay the same or slowly get larger over time. Umbilical hernias, however, are a special situation. Most small umbilical hernias that appear before a baby is 6 months old will disappear before the child’s first birthday. Even larger umbilical hernias may disappear before age 3 or 4.


Losing weight is helpful if you are overweight. If you frequently need to strain when you move your bowels, speak to your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe stool-softening medication or suggest that you modify your diet to include more high-fiber foods.


Although not all hernias need to be operated on, hernias that cause symptoms or that become larger should be repaired by a surgeon. The technique used to repair your hernia depends on its type, size and location. The surgical options include:

  • Simply stitching the defect closed

  • Using mesh plugs or patches to repair the defect

  • Performing laparoscopic surgery to fix the defect. The surgeon makes a small incision in the skin and performs the surgery using a telescope).

If you are considering having a hernia repaired, you and your surgeon will discuss which technique is most appropriate for you.

Hernias that become incarcerated or strangulated require immediate medical attention. Your doctor will try to massage the hernia back through the hole in which it is stuck. If this cannot be done, emergency surgery may be needed. Otherwise, most hernia repairs can be done on an outpatient basis as a non-emergency.

Umbilical hernias in infants usually are not treated surgically unless the hernia continues past the child’s third or fourth birthday, becomes larger, causes symptoms or strangulates. Umbilical hernias are more likely to need surgery if the opening through which the hernia passes is greater than 2 centimeters in diameter.

Hiatus hernias that are not causing symptoms of acid reflux do not need to be treated. When symptoms occur, medicine may be prescribed to decrease acid reflux. Surgery may be recommended for large hiatus hernias that cause continuing symptoms or for hernias that become stuck inside the chest.

When to Call a Professional

Call your doctor right away if there is significant pain at the site of a hernia. This can be the first sign that a hernia is incarcerated or strangulated. See your doctor if you notice a new, painless lump or swelling in a location where hernias typically occur.


When surgery is used to repair hernias, the outlook is generally very good.

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Medical Disclaimer



The most common diagnosis of a female groin swelling during pregnancy is an inguinal hernia. However, inguinal hernias during pregnancy are relatively rare, with a reported incidence of 1 in 1,000 to 3,000 pregnant women .

The RLV may mimic an inguinal hernia, which is an exceedingly rare phenomenon. A thorough literature search revealed only 16 cases internationally of RLV during pregnancy reported in the last 53 years . The RLV was first reported in 1941 by Verovitz and first reported in Korea in 2010 by Jung et al. .

The RLV are prominent veins within the round ligament and are more common in pregnancy because pregnancy promotes increased venous return and reduced venous tone. The varicose vein formation of the round ligament during pregnancy have several mechanisms, including progesterone-mediated venous smooth muscle relaxation, a raised cardiac output causing increased venous return from the limbs and leading to engorgement of venous tributaries, and most importantly, pelvic venous obstruction by the gravid uterus .

The clinical manifestation of RLV usually includes swelling and tenderness in the groin region, which can be provoked by increased intra-abdominal pressure in cases of coughing or Valsalva maneuver. A clue that might suggest RLV is the coexistence of vulvar or lower limb varicosities . Our case, however, absence of vulvar or lower limb varicosities did not exclude RLV.

The diagnosis of RLV can be established by sonography . The characteristic sonographic findings include a prominent venous plexus with accompanying dilated draining veins and the typical “bag of worms” appearance of smaller veins. Color Doppler imaging can confirm venous flow and augmentation of this flow with Valsalva maneuver . According to McKenna et al. , ultrasound criteria that may be used in the diagnosis of RLV includes: multiple dilated veins passing through the inguinal canal, absence of bowel or lymph nodes in the inguinal mass, and veins seen to drain into the inferior epigastric vein.

The differential diagnoses of RLV include inguinal hernia, lymphadenopathy, endometriosis, subcutaneous lipoma . The sonographic findings of inguinal hernia are a superficial, well-delineated echogenic mass that appears adjacent to, yet distinctly separate from, the uterine wall. The sonographic findings of lymphadenopathy are hypoechoic round or oval masses of varying size in the region of the inguinal area. The characteristic sonographic appearance of endometrioma is that of a well-defined unilocular or multilocular, predominately cystic mass containing diffuse homogeneous, low-level, and internal echoes. The sonographic findings of lipoma show a homogeneous, and echogenic mass that is surrounded by a thin echogenic capsule.

After a correct diagnosis of RLV, a wait-and-see policy is justified. After delivery, when pelvic venous obstruction by the gravid uterus is relieved, spontaneous resolution will occur in most patients . However, RLV requires close monitoring during pregnancy as rupture of varices and acute variceal thromboses have been reported. Rupture and thrombosis of the RLV may occur and give an intense painful swelling groin, in which case emergency surgical exploration is recommended. This recommendation comes first of all to rule out a strangulated hernia, and secondly to reduce pain or discomfort caused by the inguinal mass .

When a pregnant patient with an inguinal mass visits our hospital, we have to know that RLV is a part of the differential diagnosis of an inguinal mass during pregnancy, and we must perform a diagnosis using duplex sonography. If the RLV is diagnosed by sonography with the absence of a herniated bowel, or thrombus, we manage it conservatively (repeated sonography and obstetric practice). However, if RLV presenting with rupture of varices and variceal thromboses are observed, emergency surgical exploration is recommended.

Pregnancy is a time for joy, anticipation, and more than a little stress as women monitor certain health conditions like gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure, etc. My intention here is not to add to that worry with talk of hernias. Rather, it’s to put your mind at ease that hernias experienced during pregnancy are very routine, manageable and just another “bump” in the road toward parenthood.

Does a Hernia Put the Baby at Risk?

Since this is the #1 concern with expecting parents, it’s best to answer the question right up front – and the answer is “No.” If mom has a hernia with symptoms occurring under the skin, that baby is safe and sound deep in the uterus without any inkling that something is happening elsewhere.

A Hernia Explained

Imagine holding an inflated balloon in your hands. Think of the balloon as your internal tissues and the fingers on your hand as the muscle fibers of your abdominal wall. Press the balloon into your palm and open up a gap between two fingers. The balloon begins to protrude through that gap. That’s exactly what happens with a hernia, as weaknesses in the abdominal wall allow some of your insides to come out.

How Pregnancy Can Relate to Hernias

A woman’s midsection gets bigger and bigger as pregnancy progresses – we all know that. While this is happening, the abdominal wall stretches. This can reveal weaknesses that cause one of three types of hernias.

1. Umbilical Hernias

This is the most common and non-alarming type of hernia during pregnancy. It happens right at your belly button. Usually, a small amount of internal abdominal fat, rather than intestines, bulge through the front of the abdominal wall. It basically turns your “innie” navel into an “outie.” Umbilical hernias during pregnancy cause tenderness to the belly button area. They are mildly inconvenient, yet do not often require medical intervention.

2. Periumbilical or Epigastric Hernias

This type is similar to the umbilical hernia, but happens near your navel and not directly at the belly button. They are usually caused due to weakened abdominal tissues and are common after pregnancy. Periumbilical hernias may induce more significant swelling and may appear very large. Surgical intervention may be necessary if your physician suspects that the hernia has a risk of strangulation.

3. Inguinal Hernias

This is the least common hernia type in women, occurring lower in the groin area where muscles and abdominal wall fibers can stretch due to uterine pressure. Inguinal is the hernia mostly experienced by males.

Hernia Symptoms During Pregnancy

If you have a hernia, you’ll probably notice a soft lump at or near your belly button, or sometimes in the groin area. A dull ache often accompanies the hernia, and it will hurt more when you’re active or if you cough, sneeze, laugh hysterically or bend over.

If your hernia doesn’t cause severe pain or protrude excessively, it will likely repair itself after labor. However, if it begins causing intense pain or sticks out further as time goes by, it may indicate that the hernia has become “incarcerated” or trapped in the abdominal wall. If left untreated, these hernias can very rarely damage your intestines. So, if it hurts a lot, please call your doctor. Also, if nausea and vomiting coincide with a painful hernia bulge that’s red and tender, a trip to the Emergency Room is required.

Hernias During Labor

Most women with hernias can have normal vaginal deliveries. On rare occasions, a hernia can appear during or immediately after labor. This is due to the abdominal pressure required during labor as women push a baby out. If it happens, the physician will assess the proper course of action based on the severity of the hernia.

Are Some Women More at Risk?

Most hernia defects are congenital are present at birth. They’re not noticeable until the hernia defect expands during pregnancy. For others, there are certain factors that can make hernias more likely. They include:

  • Carrying multiples babies
  • Prior pregnancies, especially those involving long labors
  • Having had a previous hernia
  • Obesity

Hernia Treatment During Pregnancy

In most cases, doctors will recommend keeping an eye on the hernia without any treatment. If the bulge is bothersome, women can wear a belly band to hold it in. Icing and massaging the hernia back in towards the stomach is also effective.

After labor, there are exercises that help abdominal muscles heal from the strain of pregnancy. If the hernia hasn’t repaired itself after a recommended amount of time, surgery may be considered a few months later.

Surgery during pregnancy is only recommended if the hernia is strangulated, which is rare. Most of the time, hernia repair can wait until after delivery. Options for surgery include Mesh or NO mesh repairs, depending on the individual patient. If you think you may have a hernia that will require surgery, schedule an appointment with our expert team to come up with an individualized treatment plan.

Inguinal Hernia During Pregnancy

Inguinal Hernia During Pregnancy Find Relief!

When I was pregnant during my 6th month of pregnancy I found it difficult to walk by the end of the day because of severe pain in my groin area. I was surprised to discover that I had developed an inguinal hernia because I was in good shape and had never experienced symptoms before this time. I could not walk without pushing in on the hernia which was located in my groin area. I decided to design a device to give me back my comfort, movement and normal life. I developed the CABEA Babybellyband® with Compression Therapy Groin band support. The groin bands Velcro on to the Babybellyband® abdominal band so you can control the placement and compression support to your comfort level. The relief is immediate and fantastic! You’ll be able to walk at the end of the day, play with your kids, lead a normal life again!

Definition from The Mayo Clinic

‘An inguinal hernia occurs when soft tissue — usually part of the membrane lining the abdominal cavity (omentum) or part of the intestine — protrudes through a weak point in the abdominal muscles. The resulting bulge can be painful, especially when you cough, bend over or lift a heavy object’.

How does a hernia effect pregnancy?
During pregnancy, the weight of the fetus puts pressure on the groin area. If the abdominal muscle wall is weak, a hernia can occur (a hernia is when the muscle wall is weakened and the intestines or organs which are usually held in by the muscle, push through causing a protrusion). The most common hernia with pregnancy is an inguinal hernia which protrudes in the groin area. During my pregnancy I developed an inguinal hernia and the result was very uncomfortable. I could not walk comfortably with out pushing on the hernia to give it support, nor could I lift my other children without extreme pain. I had gained an average amount of weight hence, that the muscle wall in the groin area was genetically weak causing the hernia. Wearing support, like the Babybellyband® , helps to prevent more damage and relieve the discomfort allowing a woman to lead a normal, active life: working, walking, carrying other children, without so much pain. After I birthed my child, the hernia disappeared and has not appeared again. This often happens although in more extreme cases, the hernia must be repaired after pregnancy.


By the Mayo Clinic

You can’t prevent the congenital defect that makes you susceptible to an inguinal hernia. You can do things to reduce strain on your abdominal muscles and tissues, however. For example:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Emphasize high-fiber foods.
  • Lift heavy objects carefully or avoid heavy lifting altogether.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Avoid relying on a truss. Wearing a supportive garment designed to keep hernias in place (hernia truss) doesn’t correct the underlying problem or help prevent complications. Your doctor might recommend a hernia truss for a short time before surgery to help you feel more comfortable, but the truss isn’t a replacement for surgery.

More articles on Curing Hernia Pain During Pregnancy

Please add your experience or questions to this blog.

What causes bellybutton pain during pregnancy?

Possible causes of bellybutton pain during pregnancy include:

Uterine pressure

Share on PinterestBellybutton pain is a common experience later in pregnancy.

As the fetus grows, the uterus expands beyond its usual position to accommodate it. This movement puts pressure on the abdomen, including the bellybutton.

During the second trimester, the uterus no longer fits inside the pelvis. It now sits between the navel and breast.

By the third trimester, the uterus extends from the pubic area to the bottom of the ribs.

The growth of the uterus, as well as the baby’s position in the womb, can exert pressure on the bellybutton.

Over time, the increased pressure on the navel may cause pain, itchiness, and discomfort.


Weight gain and shifting organs during pregnancy stretches the skin and muscle around the belly.

The stretching can sometimes cause diastasis recti, which occurs when the rectus abdominis muscles, or ‘abs,’ separate into left and right halves.

The ‘abs’ are a pair of large muscles that start below the breastbone and end at the pelvis.

Diastasis recti does not directly cause navel pain, but it reduces the amount of tissue between the uterus and the bellybutton, which may increase sensitivity to pressure in the area.

Skin stretching may also cause some localized pain and itchiness on and around the bellybutton.

Popped belly button

Some pregnant women experience a popped bellybutton, which occurs when pregnancy pushes a women’s inward bellybutton outward.

A popped bellybutton may increase sensitivity and pain.

Umbilical hernia

Although a hernia may sound dangerous, it does not typically harm a pregnant woman or fetus.

An umbilical hernia happens when pressure pushes the bowel into the umbilical cavity. It can then get trapped there, becoming inflamed and painful.

Umbilical hernias can occur due to increased uterine pressure.

Unless it is causing significant symptoms, doctors may recommend watching and waiting rather than performing surgery on the hernia.

However, if there is a risk of incarceration and strangulation, the doctor may proceed with surgery.

Incarceration and strangulation occur when part of the bowel does not receive enough blood. A reduced blood supply can cause tissue death and other complications.

Surgery does present a small risk to pregnant woman and fetus, but the risk is relatively low.

Navel piercing

A woman may need to remove any bellybutton piercings during pregnancy. If the piercing is pulling on the tightened skin, there is the possibility it may tear.

A torn or injured bellybutton increases the risk of infection.

If the piercing is less than 1 year old, it may still be healing, so a woman should speak to a doctor about removing it.

Why You Might Have Bellybutton Pain During Pregnancy

The reason you’re experiencing bellybutton pain could depend on your body shape, how you’re carrying, and your skin’s elasticity. Or, a host of other factors and/or possible medical conditions could be to blame.

More often than not, the pain isn’t dangerous. It should go away with time, or after delivery.

Here are some of the common culprits.


Your skin and muscles are stretched to the max by the end of your pregnancy. You can develop stretch marks, itchiness, and pain as you go through stages of rapid growth.

Your bellybutton is at center stage during all this moving and shifting. The bellybutton can get irritated in the process.


Do you have a bellybutton ring? If it’s a new piercing, you might want to take it out to avoid infection. It can take a piercing up to a year to fully heal.

If you think you might have an infection (warmth, itching, burning, oozing, etc.), don’t remove the jewelry without asking your doctor. You could seal the infection inside and cause an abscess to form.

Pressure from uterus

In the first trimester, your uterus is relatively small and doesn’t reach far beyond your pubic bone. As the uterus pops up and out, you start showing. The pressure from the inside of your body pushes on your abdomen and bellybutton.

By the third trimester, your uterus is up way beyond your bellybutton. It’s pressing forward with the weight of the amniotic fluid and baby, among other things.

Have you ever heard a woman say her bellybutton has popped? Usually this phenomenon happens in very late pregnancy.

It just means that a bellybutton that was once more of an “innie” has protruded out with the added pressure from the uterus and baby. Even if you have an “innie,” your bellybutton may stay put and not pop.

Either way, this situation can contribute to any bellybutton discomfort you might feel.

An umbilical hernia happens when there’s too much pressure in the abdomen. This condition doesn’t just affect pregnant women.

But you’re at a higher risk of developing it if you’re pregnant with multiples, or if you’re obese. Along with bellybutton pain, you might notice a bulge near your navel, swelling, or vomiting.

Contact your doctor if you have any of these signs. Without treatment, you could develop serious complications. If the hernia traps any of the organs or other tissue in your abdomen, it may reduce their blood supply and cause a life-threatening infection.

How an Umbilical Hernia Could Affect Your Pregnancy

Increased abdominal pressure can cause an umbilical hernia at any point in your life. A bad cough and heavy lifting are both common causes, so it’s no wonder pregnancy can also cause a hernia. While the word “umbilical” might make you think the condition is somehow related to your baby, it is actually a condition that occurs at your belly button, the point where your own umbilical cord used to be connected.
There is a very small opening at this point, and it can sometimes become enlarged with increased pressure. If you have an umbilical hernia, the main symptom will be pain and tenderness at the belly button. Usually, the opening will go back to its usual size on its own and the pain will subside. Unfortunately, umbilical hernias tend to last longer in pregnant women because the pressure is constant.
Aside from the pain, umbilical hernias are harmless. However, if the pain is interfering with your lifestyle, your doctor might suggest you get an operation. Since any surgery is riskier during your pregnancy, you might have to make the decision with your doctor to wait until you’ve delivered for the procedure. There is also a serious complication that could occur from an umbilical hernia. When the opening is wider, there is a small chance that your bowel could be forced out. When this happens, your bowel movements will be cut off and the results could be fatal. Luckily, studies show that this is rare during pregnancy.
If you get an umbilical hernia during your pregnancy and you are going to have a cesarean section, the hole can be sutured quickly during that procedure. Unless your bowel protrudes out of your hernia, the condition is totally harmless to you and your baby. However, if you are unable to eat or get any physical exercise because of the pain, you could be putting your baby at risk for certain complications, so it’s important you talk to your doctor about possible solutions and whether or not surgery might be necessary.
For the most part, women who get umbilical hernias during their pregnancy are simply inconvenienced slightly. It is one of the many surprising and uncomfortable possible side effects of pregnancy. Once your bundle of joy arrives and you are officially a mom, you’ll forget all about it and the umbilical hole will shrink back to its normal size.

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