Umbilical Hernia in Pregnancy - Symptoms & Treatments
An umbilical hernia occurs due to the weakening of the anterior abdominal wall muscles and the pressure exerted by the intestines on the anterior abdominal wall. It is a painful swelling that occurs in the navel. It is more common in babies with weak muscles. It can go away on its own in infants and children. It is a rare condition in adult women. Conditions with high intra-abdominal pressure such as heavy lifting, being overweight, and being pregnant might cause an umbilical hernia. There may be cases where surgery is required. As it is known, the only real treatment for a hernia is surgery. Some hernias may recur after surgery.
An umbilical hernia occurs in or near the umbilical pit. Its size can vary in length and is more common in women. It occurs most frequently during pregnancy. Because the umbilical pit should normally be inwards, and the fact that this pit outward indicates that there is a hernia. Umbilical hernia disappears at the end of pregnancy in some women, but it should be treated if it continues after pregnancy.
The umbilical hernia occurs in part in the abdominal wall of the cord, where the blood flow between the mother and the baby is provided. The cord falls off in the days after birth. This condition is called falling of the umbilical cord. The area where the umbilical cord is located should be completely closed. As a result of incomplete closure of the region, it causes umbilical hernia in children. For this reason, we can say that umbilical hernias are hernias that arise from a congenital weak spot. In addition, heavy sports, sudden bending over, obesity, rapid weight gain, and constipation are other factors that cause the formation of an umbilical hernia.
What Causes Umbilical Hernia During Pregnancy?
Although umbilical hernia, which is common in infants due to weak abdominal walls, is rarely seen in adult women, it is very common among pregnant women. This is due to increased intra-abdominal pressure. Although it is very common, especially in pregnant women in Africa, it rarely develops complications. Mostly, umbilical hernias in pregnant women start with the anterior abdominal wall’s thinning and protruding with the pressure during pregnancy. They grow with the baby during pregnancy. There may be situations that require surgery. In these cases, a competent general surgeon will allow you to get through this process without any problems.
What Should Pregnant Women Do?
First of all, don't worry. An umbilical hernia is a condition that happens to many mothers during pregnancy, and mainly these hernias do not pose a severe problem for the mother and child. However, it should be monitored by your doctor. Therefore, please make an appointment as soon as you suspect it and avoid activities that may cause your hernia to worsen, such as heavy lifting. In some cases, you may need to change the birth planning in your doctor's opinion. Natural childbirth is not recommended for severe hernias. The reason for this is that straining during childbirth increases intra-abdominal pressure and causes the hernia to worsen. Most of the time, umbilical hernias are operated on and patched during cesarean section. Thus, you will have a problem-free birth.
How to Identify Umbilical Hernia During Pregnancy?
First of all, you should realize that an umbilical hernia is a common medical condition during pregnancy. The essential thing in the diagnosis of hernia is palpable swelling. There may be cases where this swelling is not evident during pregnancy, but the following are the markers that will cause you to suspect a hernia in case of abdominal pain you feel:
- Increased pain in movements that improve intra-abdominal pressure, such as coughing, sneezing, and straining.
- Pain relief when you lie on your back.
What Are the Symptoms of an Umbilical Hernia During Pregnancy?
The symptoms of an umbilical hernia during pregnancy are apparent. Hernias are easily diagnosed diseases. Most of the time, a manual physical examination will be sufficient for diagnosis. The situations that will make you suspect an umbilical hernia are as follows:
- Deformities in the belly button and outward swelling may be signals of an umbilical hernia.
- There is a feeling of pain in situations that increase intra-abdominal pressure, such as coughing and straining.
- The increased pain sensation is relieved when lying on the back.
- In some cases, it can cause abdominal pain and heartburn.
Enlarged umbilical hernias can also cause intestinal obstruction. In such cases, you should consult your doctor immediately. Ice should be applied to the hernias with redness immediately, and they should be taken to the hospital immediately. Redness can be a signal of severe problems in the intestines. Hernias that are not monitored by a professional can be quite dangerous for both the pregnant woman and the child. If your doctor deems it necessary, he may operate with a patch or stitch.
What is the Treatment of Umbilical Hernia in Pregnant Women?
It is always essential to determine your treatment method, taking into account what your doctor has said. It would help if you did not lift heavy or make movements that will force your stomach. In typical cases, the hernia brace can be used to prevent the progression of your hernia, but of course, the situation is different in pregnancy. Minor hernia during pregnancy should only be followed. However, it should be known that the only treatment for a hernia is surgery.
Today, umbilical hernia surgeries are performed mainly by the closed laparoscopy method. There is no need for emergency surgery, especially during pregnancy, for minor hernias that are not uncomfortable, not life-threatening. Straining during natural birth increases the intra-abdominal pressure considerably and often causes the hernia to grow. It would help if you discussed this with your doctor, as there is a hernia recurrence after the hernia surgery performed during cesarean section. It is a delicate operation, and, likely, the hernia will not recur when done correctly.
Umbilical hernia can go away on its own. But in cases where it does not go away, the only option is surgery. On the other hand, surgery is a straightforward method that can be healed in a short time. What will be done in the surgery varies according to the size of the hernia. For example, if the hernia is large, closure is applied by patching the entire navel, while there is no need for a patch in small hernias. However, there is a possibility that hernias treated with stitches will reappear. For this reason, the patch method is more preferred.
The difficulty of the operation varies according to the size of the hernia. After the procedure, patients should not lift heavy loads, bend and stand up suddenly, and be careful not to make sudden movements.
What Is Good For Umbilical Hernia Pain During Pregnancy?
You should discuss every medicine you will use during pregnancy with your doctor, but you can also alleviate the feeling of heartburn and pain with herbal treatments. Many herbs that are good for heartburn can also reduce hernia pain. These are recipes you will make with herbs such as aloe vera, cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, and ginger. Remember that too much of anything can be harmful in the consumption of these herbs. There are many components in every natural substance. If you are using a drug, keep in mind that it may interact with it.
What are the Risks of Untreated Umbilical Hernia?
If the umbilical hernia is not treated, there is a risk of suffocation. For this reason, even if the hernia is small, it is necessary to consult a doctor to treat it. In case of strangulation of the hernia, there will be redness and pain in the area. Pediatricians also treat hernias that occur in babies. There is no need for immediate surgery in hernias that occur in children. In most children, it disappears on its own before the age of 2 years.
Can Mothers with Umbilical Hernia Have a Natural Birth?
According to the professional judgment of your doctor or a physiotherapist, mothers with an umbilical hernia can have a natural birth. After birth, it can be treated with a surgical operation using the patch method or suture method. In cases where the doctor does not recommend, in large hernias, cesarean section is performed.