Belly Button during Pregnancy: Causes, Pain Relief & Prevention

Belly Button During Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Sabiha Anjum (Gynecologist/Obstetrician)
View more Gynecologist/Obstetrician Our Panel of Experts

During pregnancy, a woman’s body goes through a multitude of physiological changes that can be both fascinating and bewildering. Among these transformations, some women may observe alterations in their belly buttons, a seemingly inconspicuous area that can become quite intriguing during this time. It’s not uncommon for expectant mothers to witness their once-hidden ‘innie’ belly buttons gradually protruding through their clothing, prompting curiosity about the underlying causes of this phenomenon. To demystify this intriguing phenomenon, let’s delve deeper into the physiological mechanisms responsible for the change in belly button in pregnancy.

How Does the Belly Button Change During Pregnancy?

As the pregnancy progresses and the baby grows inside the womb, the early pregnant belly button that’s concave may start protruding. The belly button protrudes gradually as the baby grows in size, and a woman may notice the change in her belly button. However, not all women will experience a change in their belly button. Some women may continue to have an innie even during pregnancy.

What Is an ‘Outie’ Belly Button?

When the belly button protrudes, it’s called an ‘outie’ belly button. Likewise, a concave belly button is termed as an ‘innie’. If you have an outie, then the chances of your belly button popping out during pregnancy will be quite high. But it’s not something to worry about as a protruding navel during pregnancy is quite a normal condition and harmless.

What Causes an ‘Outie’ Belly Button in Pregnancy?

Your body goes through physical changes during pregnancy, including weight gain and expansion of the uterus. To add to this, your uterus starts getting filled with a lot of amniotic fluid, which makes the uterus press against your belly button. Therefore, your belly button pops out or changes to an outie.

Can You Prevent Your Belly Button From Popping Out?

Popping out of the belly button is caused by changes during pregnancy which cannot be controlled. Your navel in pregnancy may pop out if it’s your first or second pregnancy, or it may never become an outie.

Outie Belly Button in Pregnancy

Issues That Can Arise Due to an Outie

In rare cases, an outie belly button can cause:

1. Pain

When you’re pregnant, your abdomen stretches which may be the culprit behind the pain you experience while pregnant. The pain is usually superficial and confined to the belly area, not to be confused with labour pain as in labour pain, the woman may experience it all over the uterus. It could also be a muscular problem. For most women, such pain is momentary and subsides once the abdomen extends to a specific point.  However, you should consult your doctor for medical help if you are suffering from sharp pain that extends beyond a couple of minutes.

2. Itchiness

Itching around an outie belly button may happen either due to stretching of the abdomen or a skin infection. To prevent and treat this condition, gently pat the popped-out belly button dry after a bath. You can put a band-aid over the belly button to prevent your clothes from rubbing over it. Alternatively, you can also opt for loose clothing. You can even use calamine lotion to soothe the itching.

3. Infection Risk

An outie belly button during pregnancy can create a potential risk for infection if not properly cared for. The exposed area may accumulate dirt, sweat, or moisture, making it a breeding ground for bacteria. Maintaining good hygiene practices by cleaning the area gently with mild soap and water can help reduce the risk of infection.

Should You Remove Any Navel Piercings During Pregnancy?

Maintaining your piercings may prove troublesome during pregnancy. The abdomen starts expanding and the area around the navel may cause irritation, pain and even an infection. Your gynaecologist will suggest that you remove the piercing before delivery. If you want to keep your piercing intact, then take these precautions:

  • Keep the area around the navel piercing clean to reduce the possibility of an infection.
  • Besides tending to your navel and keeping it dry after a shower, it’s also important to keep it clean throughout the day.
  • Refrain from touching and pulling on the piercing. It may harm or tear the skin.
  • Tell your spouse to avoid touching, kissing or licking the piercing. This increases the risk of infection.

What Happens to the Outie Belly Button After Childbirth?

The following may happen around the outie belly button after you deliver your baby.

  • The skin around the outie will become loose due to the stretching of the skin during pregnancy. This issue can be solved with the help of plastic surgery.
  • A popped naval can also be a sign of an umbilical hernia. An umbilical hernia is the result of fatty tissue inside your abdomen nudging too close to your belly button leading to protrusion outside. Unfortunately, if you are suffering from an umbilical hernia, then it may cause some pain and discomfort around the affected area. If that’s the situation, you are in and are experiencing a painful bulge around your belly button, immediately seek your doctor’s help to solve the problem.

Flat Belly Button During Pregnancy

There is a chance of the belly button becoming flat when you’re pregnant. The navel becomes flat and taut against the abdomen. This condition is normal. Your belly button will return to its original shape after the delivery.

Belly Button Pain During Pregnancy

Some women complain of pain in the belly button while pregnant, while others don’t. Similarly, some women may not have belly button pain in one pregnancy, but have it in the next. Belly button pain is common in the second and third trimesters.

Causes of Belly Button Pain

Belly button pain during pregnancy depends on various factors such as your body shape and the elasticity of your abdominal skin. Usually, belly button pain isn’t long-lasting and fades away with time or after childbirth. Here are the causes of belly button pain:

1. Excessive Stretching

The uterus starts expanding and in this process, the muscles and skin on the abdomen are stretched to their limit. At times, this expansion results in stretch marks, itchiness and even pain.

2. Navel Piercing

If you’re pregnant and have recently got a navel piercing, be careful. A navel piercing takes up to a year to heal completely, thus making you vulnerable to infection. A navel piercing may also be the culprit behind the pain in the belly button. As the skin around the pierced area also tends to stretch during pregnancy and turns sensitive, it can cause pain. The stretching of the skin around the area of piercing and pressure can also lead to pain.


3. Pressure of Uterus

When pregnant, your uterus keeps growing as your foetus develops inside the womb. In your first trimester, your uterus is still small and does not expand beyond the pubic bone. But as the body starts accumulating amniotic fluid in the uterus as the pregnancy progresses, the pressure from the weight of amniotic fluid and the baby may force the belly button to pop out. However, not all women with an innie belly button in pregnancy would face this belly button popping situation. Sometimes, this pressure from the uterus might cause some discomfort in your belly button as well.

4. Gastrointestinal Issues

Belly button pain during pregnancy can also be attributed to gastrointestinal problems. As your growing uterus exerts pressure on your digestive organs, it can lead to issues like bloating-gas, and constipation. These gastrointestinal discomforts can radiate to the belly button area, causing discomfort and pain.

5. Umbilical Hernia

In some cases, a pre-existing or pregnancy-induced umbilical hernia can cause pain around the belly button area. This occurs when a small part of the intestine or abdominal tissue pushes through a weakened spot in the abdominal wall near the navel. If you suspect an umbilical hernia, seek medical attention promptly for evaluation and management.

How to Relieve Belly Button Pain?

If you’re wondering how you ease the pain in your belly button, these tips will surely help you!

  • Sleeping to the left or right side helps you to ease the pressure on the belly button, to an extent. Alternatively, you can use a pillow to support your belly.
  • A maternal support belt is another option. This helps ease your back and abdominal pain while you are standing. It usually helps but not all women may benefit from it.
  • To relieve the itchiness or irritation on and around your belly button, try pregnancy-safe lotions. You can also go for cocoa butter; it is known for soothing itchy and irritated skin.
  • Wear loose clothing to prevent your clothes from rubbing against the belly button.
  • You can use tea tree oil in case of abrasion near the belly button. Tea tree oil works as an antiseptic may help.
  • You can use calamine lotion or medicated soothing lotions to relieve itchiness.

Signs of Belly Button Pain Due to an Umbilical Hernia

A pregnant woman’s belly button pain could also be a symptom of an umbilical hernia. This condition is caused when a part of the bowel or fatty tissue presses against some area near the belly button, resulting in a bulge or swelling near the belly button. However, in some rare cases, it may develop into a serious condition.

If you notice any of these symptoms, it means that the belly button pain is due to an umbilical hernia.

  • You have an oblong or spherical-shaped bulge near the navel.
  • You feel pain in or around the belly button when you cough, sneeze or bend over.
  • You experience pain in the protruded part in the later stages of pregnancy.

Belly button pain during pregnancy

Can Having an Umbilical Hernia Hurt Your Baby?

Your baby is safe inside the womb and umbilical hernia won’t cause any harm to him. Your baby’s growth depends on your intake of nutrients. So, if you’re experiencing a loss of appetite due to the hernia, it’s a cause for concern. In such a case, consult your doctor immediately.

How to Relieve Umbilical Hernia During Pregnancy?

If you’re pregnant and suffering from an umbilical hernia, wearing a belly band should help to reduce the bulging and the pain. If the hernia doesn’t get cured on its own, you may require surgery.

Is Surgery During Pregnancy Recommended?

Getting surgery to correct umbilical hernia is not recommended during pregnancy, unless a loop of bowel slips through the hole and becomes trapped (herniated), risking a loss of blood supply to that area. This pain can be identified by an acute increase in pain in the herniated area.

Can You Prevent Belly Button Pain?

Belly button pain cannot be prevented and there’s not much you can do to prevent it. In most cases, gestation is the reason behind the slight pain which you may face around the belly button, which is unavoidable. The same holds true for an umbilical hernia as well. Don’t worry, all you must do is put a little pressure on your bulge when you sneeze or cough to avoid the discomfort.

Should You Be Concerned About Sore Belly Button in Pregnancy?

You will experience some amount of pain in your belly button due to the rapid changes taking place in your body when pregnant. Of course, the degree of pain or discomfort depends on how large your belly will extend or on the elasticity of your skin. Still, there’s no need for you to panic, sore belly button during pregnancy is a common phenomenon. You will likely feel it during the later stage of your pregnancy when the size of your belly is at its peak.

Having said that, if your discomfort is accompanied by vomitingfever, nausea or even bleeding, then you should consult your doctor right away. The rule of thumb is to check with your doctor if you feel anything is wrong. They are the right ones to evaluate the situation and recommend the right treatment for both, i.e., you and your baby.


1. Will Your Belly Button Go Back to Normal After Birth?

In most cases, yes, your belly button will return to its pre-pregnancy appearance after childbirth. It may take a few weeks or months, but the skin and muscles usually regain their original state. However, there can be variations, and some individuals may experience permanent changes.

2. What Are the Myths About Belly Buttons and Pregnancy?

There are several myths surrounding the belly button during pregnancy. One common myth is that the shape of your belly button can predict the baby’s gender, but there’s no scientific basis for this. Another myth is that you should avoid touching your belly button during pregnancy, which is not true. Your belly button can be safely touched and cleaned as needed. Additionally, there’s a misconception that an “outie” belly button indicates complications, which is usually not the case. Belly button changes during pregnancy are primarily due to stretching skin and tissue.

3. How Does a Belly Button Piercing Look Like After Pregnancy?

A belly button piercing can be affected by pregnancy. Due to skin stretching and sensitivity, the piercing may migrate or appear stretched. After childbirth, it may return to a more normal appearance, but some individuals choose to remove the jewelry during pregnancy to avoid complications. Proper aftercare and consulting with a professional piercer are essential for maintaining the piercing’s look.

Changes to the appearance of your belly button are part and parcel of conception. Don’t panic! If you’re still worried, speak to your gynaecologist about it.


1. Skin Conditions During Pregnancy: FAQs; The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists;

2. Kulacoglu. H; Umbilical Hernia Repair and Pregnancy: Before, during, after…; Frontiers;, full; January 2018

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4. Umbilical hernia; Mayo Clinic;

5. Why Do Some People’s Belly Buttons Pop Out During Pregnancy?; Cleveland Clinic;

6. Treating Postpartum Hernia: What New Mothers Should Know; Michigan Medicine (University of Michigan);

7. Umbilical hernia repair; NHS UK;

8. Why belly button pain during pregnancy is still a mystery; Why belly button pain during pregnancy is still a mystery; UT Southwestern Medical Centre;

Also read:

Pregnancy Line (Linea Nigra)
Appendicitis during Pregnancy
Itching on Stomach during Pregnancy
Protruding Navel and Umbilical Hernia when Pregnant

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