Umbilical Hernia after Pregnancy

An Umbilical hernia

Welcoming your baby to this amazing world and cradling him in your arms is one of the most overwhelming feeling a woman will experience. Now that you have become a mother and your little one is out, you must be relieved mentally, but your body may not be completely alright. You may feel pain even after your baby is born. What might be the reason for it?

An umbilical hernia after pregnancy is also known as a postpartum hernia. A hernia is also observed during the pregnancy and can occur anywhere on your body like on legs, lower abdomen or groin area. But if this becomes extremely painful, then you need to seek medical attention right away.

What is an Umbilical Hernia?

You may witness that your belly button is protruding outwards post-delivery, which is commonly termed as an umbilical hernia. It may feel soft and tender to touch, and you may also be able to push it back in sometime. You will experience more strain on the lower abdomen when you are sneezing or coughing continuously or while lifting heavy weights.

Causes of Post Delivery Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia is caused due to the excessive pressure built-up in the abdomen and pelvis area. Your umbilical cord opens up and is connected to the abdominal muscles of your baby during pregnancy. This tiny opening closes after the birth of the child. At times the muscles do not join completely post-delivery which puts you at high risk of developing an umbilical hernia. The major causes of an umbilical hernia are:

  • More than one pregnancy: If you have had twins or conceived for two or three times with less time gap in between then your muscles tend to weaken, which also triggers the risk of a hernia.
  • Overweight: If you are overweight then the chances of getting an umbilical hernia is more, as it weakens the elasticity of your abdominal muscles.
  • Long hours of labour: A prolonged labour delivery can also be a cause of an umbilical hernia, as it strains and stretches the abdominal muscles.
  • Weak core muscles: If your core muscles are not strong enough then it might lead to an umbilical hernia. The core muscles support your spine, waist, lower back, and abdomen. So, it is important that these muscles are strong enough to support the body.
  • Accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity: Accumulation of fluids in the layers of abdominal wall and abdominal organs may also lead to an umbilical hernia.
  • Excessive strain: Straining due to prolonged coughing, lifting heavy weights, or sneezing continuously can also increase the risk of an umbilical hernia.
  • Abdominal Surgery: Previously undergone abdominal surgeries may also lead to the cause.

    Umbilical hernia explained

Symptoms of Postpartum Umbilical Hernia

Following are the symptoms of an umbilical hernia that you may witness:

  • Mild pain and swelling in your lower abdomen. The pain and burning sensation will increase when you are lifting heavy weights, coughing, sneezing or during bowel movements. In case of strangulated hernia which causes rigidness and severe pain in the abdomen, you need to get medical treatment immediately.
  • You may see visible skin symptoms as a hernia develops after C-section delivery around your abdomen. The skin on your belly button becomes loose and bulges out. A hernia restricts your blood flow to the intestines which causes the skin around the affected area to become reddish blue.
  • You may also experience nausea, vomiting, blood while passing stool, and gastric trouble when you are affected by a hernia.

Treatment for Post Pregnancy Umbilical Hernia

There are majorly two ways to treat a hernia, which include:

1. Surgical Treatment

A surgical treatment will effectively strengthen the weakened muscles of the abdomen and push the tissues back to its place through open surgery. You may also opt for laparoscopic surgery which is less painful and more effective with minimum recovery time. The chances of re-appearance of a hernia are also less in this case. But it is highly recommended that in case your hernia is not severe then you perform physical exercises like yoga to strengthen your core muscles.

2. Non-surgical treatment

Most of the doctors prescribe regular exercising like yoga, aerobics, and stretching instead of surgery. Exercising naturally strengthens the weaker muscles and eases the protrusion back to normal. Performing exercises that will not put excessive pressure on your abdomen and pelvic muscles will give better results. Breathing exercises, yoga, stretching, cycling, meditation will help immensely. Along with regular exercises maintaining a correct posture is also equally important. You need to be acquainted with how your body functions and come up with stress relieving techniques. Also, you must refrain from wearing high heels when you are diagnosed with an umbilical hernia as it puts a strain on the lower abdominal muscles. Standing straight, sitting in an upright posture will also help you correct your posture.

What If Umbilical Hernia Is Not Treated After Childbirth?

You need to be acquainted with the severity of your hernia. If it is very slight and does not cause much discomfort, then it can be left untreated, but regular exercising is a must. However, if you suffer from a severe hernia, then you require immediate medical attention as it can cause serious effects like uncontrollable abdominal pain, and less blood supply to your intestines. Hence, it is advisable to have an open discussion with the doctor before pursuing any kind of treatment or exercises.

A hernia is a serious medical condition with dangerous effects if left untreated. So you need to consult your doctor even if you do not experience severe pain or discomfort. Prevention is always better than cure. Regular exercising post-delivery and getting back into the correct posture is very necessary to keep your body healthy, fit and, glowing.

Also Read: Stomach Pain after Delivery