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Belly Button Outie – Umbilical Hernia??

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What Can Cause An Outie Belly Button In Pregnancy?is an umbilical hernia?

A hernia results when an internal body part pushes through between the rectus abdominis muscles as their muscle wall is thin and weakened.  With the uterus growing in size and the increase in amniotic fluid and general retained fluid this all increases pressure and pushes behind the belly button which may lead it pushing outwards.  Don’t worry.  This is very normal.  Usually it will rectify within a few months after pregnancy.  If you still are finding problems later down the line and it is not rectifying with doing pelvic floor exercises then it is worth having a review with a consultant to see if an umbilical hernia is present and surgery may be of help.

Is Surgery Required and What Happens?

Surgery is usually done if the belly button becomes symptomatic with soreness but can be done for cosmetic reasons also. Usually it is preferred to wait until the pregnancy is over before correcting any outie belly button as the resolved problem may happen again during the pregnancy. Also be wary of rushing into wanting surgery if have a large hernia as it usually is requested to wait a year before becoming pregnant again.   The consultant will decide which is the best operation for you but will either be done using keyhole surgery or inserting a mesh.  It is important to have physiotherapy before and after to increase the muscle strength so that you recover well.

What Are The Changes In the Muscles During Pregnancy?

The whole structure of the rectus abdominis muscle is changed during pregnancy.  The muscles significantly change in length and separate.  Their function is compromised and therefore the ability to stabilise the pelvis is decreased as the pregnancy progresses.  In most pregnancies the separation is resolved by 4 weeks after the birth and the muscle function returned to pre pregnancy levels by 8 weeks after birth.  However the ability of the muscles to stabilise the pelvis still remains low at 8 weeks.  These changes in the rectus abdominis are what can lead to the umbilicus pushing outwards.

Effect of Changes In Hormones

Another factor that may contribute to a umbilical hernia happening is the increased release of relaxin, a peptide hormone which relaxes ligaments around the pelvis and softens and widens the cervix.