Updated on 29 April 2023
For pregnant women, learning the potential causes and signs of umbilical hernia can be critical for staying safe and healthy. Learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for this condition which is surprisingly more common in pregnancy than you might think.
An umbilical hernia is a condition that can occur during pregnancy when the baby’s umbilical cord protrudes through the mother’s abdominal wall. This may cause the mother to experience pain and discomfort, as well as an increase in the size of her belly button. In some cases, the umbilical hernia may resolve itself after delivery, but in other cases, surgery may be required to repair the hernia.
Umbilical hernias are common during pregnancy, occurring in up to 10% of pregnant women. They are caused by the increased pressure on the abdominal wall from the growing baby. The extra pressure can cause the abdominal muscles to separate, allowing a portion of the intestines to protrude through the opening. Umbilical hernias are mostly harmless and do not cause any pain or discomfort.
These hernias are most common in infants, but they can also occur in adults. In pregnant women, umbilical hernias can cause several symptoms, including:
A bulge or swelling around the belly button
Pain or discomfort when lifting, coughing, or straining
A feeling of heaviness or pressure in the abdomen
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see your doctor so that the hernia can be properly diagnosed and treated.
An umbilical hernia is usually benign and asymptomatic but can cause pain and/or difficulty with bowel movements.
Umbilical hernias can get stuck and cannot be pushed back into the abdomen. This can cause severe pain and likely lead to tissue death. If you have an umbilical hernia, it is important to see a doctor so that they can monitor it for these risks.
There are chances that an umbilical hernia may worsen during pregnancy as the uterus grows. This can put pressure on the abdominal wall and cause the hernia to protrude more. In some cases, surgery may be required to repair the hernia before or after delivery.
If you have an umbilical hernia, you will likely need to see a doctor for regular check-ups. They will monitor the size of the hernia and assess whether or not it is becoming incarcerated or strangulated. If you experience pain or other symptoms, please see a doctor right away, as this may be a sign of a serious condition.
These hernias are common and usually harmless during pregnancy. However, they can sometimes cause pain or discomfort. If this is the case, there are several treatment options available.
The first step is to try to reduce the amount of strain on your abdominal muscles. This can be done by wearing supportive clothing such as a pregnancy girdle. You may also need to modify your activities and avoid lifting heavy objects.
If these measures don't relieve your symptoms, your doctor may advise surgery to repair the hernia. This is usually done after the baby is born. In some cases, the hernia can be repaired during pregnancy, but this is usually only necessary if the hernia is large or causes severe pain.
Recovery after treatment for umbilical hernia in pregnancy is mostly quick and easy. In most cases, the hernia will heal on its own within a few weeks to months. However, if the hernia is large or does not heal on its own, surgery may be required to close the hole in the abdominal wall. Surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you can go home the same day. Recovery from surgery takes about four to six weeks. During this time, you will need to avoid strenuous activity and lift anything heavy.
Several measures can be taken to help prevent an umbilical hernia during pregnancy:
Excess weight gain can put extra pressure on the abdominal muscles and increase the risk of developing a hernia.
A nutritious diet will help keep the muscles strong and prevent obesity, which can lead to a hernia.
Regular exercise helps tone abdominal muscles and reduces the risk of developing a hernia.
Straining can put extra pressure on the abdominal muscles and lead to a hernia.
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