A hernia is said to be a medical condition that occurs when an internal body organ pushes out through a weak muscle wall or tissue which actually should hold the organs in place. This protrusion looks like a bulge on the outer surface of the body. The abdomen and groin area are the most common places of hernia development. Hernias that develop on the umbilicus (belly button) are called umbilical hernias and are most commonly seen in women than men.
Pregnancy is one of the main causes of hernia formation or triggers the existing one, as a result of the gradual increase in intra-abdominal pressure during pregnancy. However, the incidence of umbilical hernias is observed in 0.08% of pregnant women. When a hernia develops during pregnancy, it may not be a major problem until it becomes painful. Yet, the condition can become more severe if left untreated and can even result in life-threatening complications.
Dr. Venugopal Pareek, one of the best hernia surgeons in Hyderabad, suggests that if a woman with a hernia trying to become pregnant or is already pregnant, it is necessary to inform the treating doctor so that she can examine for possible complications. Hernias can also be treated before conception in order to avoid complications during pregnancy.
Causes of Hernia during Pregnancy
Hernias are usually the result of weakened muscles or muscles that never fully grow together. People are more likely to be born with this weakness than to acquire it later in life. However, certain medical conditions and health factors might compromise the abdominal wall tissue, leading to hernias. Women are at a higher risk of developing a hernia while pregnant since their abdominal muscles are prone to get stretched, thin, and weaker during pregnancy months.
Some other common causes of umbilical hernia during pregnancy:
- lifting heavy objects
- Obesity or Excess weight
- Multiple pregnancies
- accumulation of abdominal fluid
- Previous abdominal surgery such as a cesarean section or appendectomy
- Chronic cough or constipation can cause increased pressure on the abdominal muscles
Symptoms of an umbilical hernia during pregnancy
Every pregnant woman with a hernia may not experience signs and symptoms. While some people can have symptoms as follows:
A bulge or lump is the most common symptom of an umbilical hernia during pregnancy which can be observed in the belly button area. This bulge could become more noticeable when you lie down, stand up or put pressure on that area.
Some women may experience pain or some sort of discomfort in the abdomen or umbilical (belly button) area. When you stand up, cough, or strain the pain might become even worse.
In some cases, the condition may cause nausea and vomiting due to the pressure on the digestive system by the hernia.
Heartburn or indigestion is another symptom of the umbilical hernia that can be caused due to pressure on the stomach.
Difficulty passing gas or having a bowel movement – If the hernia is large enough, it becomes hard to pass stool and may experience constipation.
A feeling of weakness or pressure in the abdominal area.
Also, some women find it harder to move around as their pregnancy progress.
However, the symptoms vary from woman to woman and if you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, consult your doctor as soon as possible for further evaluation and treatment.
Umbilical hernia treatment during pregnancy
Surgery is an effective way to treat a hernia but it may not be recommended during pregnancy unless it poses a risk to the mother or the newborn. An umbilical hernia that occurs during pregnancy is normally harmless and will go away on its own once the baby is delivered. However, certain conservative treatment options can help to manage the symptoms if the hernia is causing pain or discomfort.
Wearing supportive garments like a maternity belt or abdominal binder is suggested to relieve pain & discomfort and reduce pressure on the abdominal muscles.
For a growing hernia, you may be recommended to wear a hernia belt or truss to provide support for the hernia.
Get more rest and avoid strenuous activities so that the worsening symptoms can be prevented.
Doctors also suggest some medications to get relief from the pain associated with the umbilical hernia. It’s important not to take any medications during pregnancy without the concern of your healthcare provider.
Surgery is rarely necessary to fix the umbilical hernia during pregnancy. In cases where surgery is required during pregnancy, the second trimester is the suggested phase for surgery.
In most cases of umbilical hernia surgery during pregnancy is delayed until after birth and is planned after a full recovery, between three to six months.
If you are pregnant and suffering from an umbilical hernia it’s important to monitor closely. Consult Dr. V Pareek, the best laparoscopic hernia surgeon in Hyderabad can help you determine the best course of treatment. Call +91 91-777-77715 for an appointment or book your slot at Contact Us.