Watching Out For Umbilical Hernias During Pregnancy

umbilical hernias in pregnancy

Watching Out For Umbilical Hernias During Pregnancy

At some point during your pregnancy, you may notice your “innie” belly button suddenly becomes an “outie” due to your rapidly expanding baby belly. This is perfectly normal. However, there is a chance that your growing baby can result in an umbilical hernia. This may sound concerning, but umbilical hernias are generally harmless – though they can be annoying and painful!  Let’s look at what they are, why they happen, and how to manage them.

What Is An Umbilical Hernia?

Your abdominal wall has the vital job of keeping all your tissues and organs nicely tucked away inside your abdomen. But sometimes, a gap can form in the wall, allowing parts of the intestine or a bit of fat to start creeping out.  While this might sound horrifying, umbilical hernias don’t tend to be dangerous, and they can’t directly harm your baby.

Why Do They Happen?

When you were a baby, your umbilical cord entered your body through your navel, creating a hole that usually closes up once you’re born, leaving your belly button as a souvenir. But sometimes, that little tunnel between your stomach muscles doesn’t seal shut tightly or remains a weak point Later in life, certain situations can trigger an umbilical hernia. Pregnancy is one of these times. The increased pressure on your abdominal wall builds, and any weakness or small holes that you never knew were there can become larger, resulting in a hernia. This most commonly happens from the second trimester onwards. The risks of this are higher if you are carrying multiples, have experienced an umbilical hernia before, have weak stomach muscles, or are carrying extra weight.

What Are The Symptoms Of An Umbilical Hernia?

If you have a soft lump around your navel, or your belly button protrudes markedly, you may have an umbilical hernia. Sometimes, there is no lump, only a slight swelling or pressure around the belly button. You may experience a dull ache and increased pain when you cough sneeze, bend over, or exercise. If you experience increased pain that doesn’t go away or can’t push the bulge back in, you should see your doctor. The same applies if the protrusion becomes red and sore to touch and you experience nausea and vomiting.

Prevention Of Umbilical Hernias

If you have had an umbilical hernia before, you have an increased risk of recurrence during pregnancy. But there are some things you can do lower the chances, such as:

  • – wearing clothes or accessories that gently support your expanding abdomen – such as a Smileybelt.
  • – avoiding heavy lifting.
  • – sitting down to relax regularly – put your feet up!
  • – regularly doing low impact exercises such as prenatal yoga, stretching, swimming, and walking. Hear about our three golden rules to exercising during pregnancy here.
  • – supporting your body when moving from lying down to sitting, or sitting to standing.
  • – gently pressing your belly when sneezing or coughing.

Treatment Of Umbilical Hernias

Most umbilical hernias don’t cause much more than slight inconvenience and discomfort during pregnancy and will resolve naturally postpartum.  You can, however, find ways to reduce this discomfort and stay active without exacerbating the hernia. Such as gently massaging the bump back in towards your stomach and by wearing a belly band such as the Smileybelt. After you give birth, the hernia should resolve. Targeted abdominal exercises can help, but make sure you talk to a health professional before completing exercises to ensure you are choosing the right activity. If the hernia doesn’t go away by itself, your doctor may recommend surgery after a few months, depending on the severity.

How A Smileybelt Can Help With Umbilical Hernias

Smileybelt offers fantastic, comfortable support for abdominal wall weakness, including diastasis recti and umbilical hernias. The gentle pressure can help keep your hernia from protruding too much and causing discomfort. Instead of walking around holding your belly with your hands, you have your hands free to exercise, carry your groceries, or do whatever jobs you need to get done! A Smileybelt supports your body and helps relieve pain while the body takes time to heal itself. Research has found that flexible support belts like Smileybelt are preferred over more rigid belts. They provide gentle compression without being overly constrictive. While umbilical hernias are generally nothing to be too concerned about, they can be uncomfortable and annoying. Wearing a Smileybelt during and after your pregnancy can help reduce soreness, improve comfort, promote good posture, and keep you active along the way.