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Pregnancy and an Umbilical Hernia: Part 2

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We were leaving earlier than scheduled from a trip with our kids. I was sad that they were disappointed but was relieved that my doctor’s nurse was able to squeeze me in for an appointment on my doctor’s booked schedule. I was 9 weeks pregnant with my third child and experiencing incredible pain around my belly button.

He took one look at the area on my stomach that was causing me the pain and said, “you have an umbilical hernia!” As I laid down on the exam table and he pressed on that area of my stomach, I winced from the pain as tears rolled down the sides of my face. The growing that my belly did when I was pregnant with my children, caused the hernia. He told me that umbilical hernias were common but the pain that I was experiencing was not. He gave me a referral to a general surgeon and helped me to get an appointment for the next morning.

The medical definition for umbilical hernia is “An umbilical hernia is an outward bulging (protrusion) of the abdominal lining or part of the abdominal organ(s) through the area around the belly button.” Typically, umbilical hernias do not cause pain. I was experiencing pain because I had tissue that had become strangulated. The surgeon told me that if I had not been pregnant, he would have operated the next day. He warned me that the anesthetic was not the safest for the 9 week baby that I was carrying and hoped that the operation could wait. He gave me strict instructions to limit all unnecessary activity and come back to see him in three days. He would check me again and we would have to make the decision if I would have to have the operation. He advised me that if the condition became worse, I would not have an option. I would have to have emergency surgery.

I limited all of my activity over the next few days and prayed that I would not have to have the surgery for the sake of my unborn child. I was relieved when I saw the surgeon three days later and he was pleased that there was improvement. I noticed it too. The pain was not as bad as it was when we were out of town. Once again, he told me to limit all heavy lifting, exercise, and activity for the next three weeks.

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EmpowHER Guest

That is very helpful, Susan. I have a slightly different situation but not less problematic! I have a paraumbulical hernia (above my belly button), it causes me pain now and then, but it's not unbearable...I have spoken to surgeons who never advised me not to have kids. They also weren't concerned enough to advise surgery! My question (of just seeking your opinion) is, would it be wise to try and conceive a child knowing my problem ahead of time? It's sad that there is such little information out there about a case like mine. I am so concerned I would end up in as much pain as you if not more!

January 2, 2013 - 10:15pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi Susan,

My wife is 26 weeks pregnant now. She was getting pain at her umbilical. Doctor told that wait for 4 days after we will do a scan, I pain still there then we can go for surgery.
I am very nervous about this; I don't want to go for any surgery until delivery. Kindly tell me what precautions you have taken for this pain. My wife is telling that she is not getting pain continuously.
She is working women, is it suggestible that to continue her work , kindly suggest me.

March 28, 2011 - 3:28am
(reply to Anonymous)

I do not have the background to give you medical advice. However, in my case, when I was experiencing pain with my third child, (my pain was extreme and did not let up) I went immediately to my OB and he referred me to a general surgeon. The general surgeon informed me that he would only perform surgery if truly necessary. His preference was to wait until after I had the baby. Within a few days, the tissue that was "stuck" in the tear of that muscle, worked it's way out and I was able to wait until after giving birth to have my surgery. I did have the beginning of a hernia with my second baby but the pain was only occasional and was not a real issue when I was pregnant. Try not to worry and wait and see what your doctor suggests. Good luck!

March 28, 2011 - 7:33pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had an Umbilical Hernia repair over 3 years ago and I'm 6 months pregnate was wondering if any one has had any complications during or after delivery with the repair of the hernia (me they placed a patch and sewed it to my abdomen wall)?

November 9, 2009 - 2:31pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I had the same surgery 4 years ago and I am thinking about getting pregnant again with a 3rd child. I too would like to know if anyone had complications, or if their mesh had to be repaired again.

October 14, 2010 - 12:05pm
EmpowHER Guest

thnx i also have hernia n im 4 weeks pregnent
i was very worried bt nw i am hopeful

November 7, 2009 - 2:18am
(reply to Anonymous)

If you are expereincing any pain, contact your doctor right away. I had noticed during my second pregnancy that I had soreness when I pressed on my belly button but by the third pregnancy, I could actually feel a hole under my skin. If there is a small opening under the skin, it is common to to have tissue poke out that opening. (It looked like I had 2 outie belly buttons by the end of my third pregnancy.) Usually, you can push is back in and it will not be painful. Still, be sure to talk to your doctor about it at your next appointment. And again, if you have pain, contact your doctor right away. Good luck and congratulations on your pregnancy!

November 7, 2009 - 2:00pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am glad to hear everything worked out. I am 10 weeks pregnant with my third child and had a similar experience. I too, have an umbilical hernia and am concerned on what to expect during the rest of my pregnancy. Did you experience pain as you grew bigger? Did the hernia worsen as you got further along? Was there anything that you did that helped prevent surgery while pregnant? Were you able to have a vaginal birth? After surgery for the repair, were you able to breast feed, how was the recovery while you looked after three little ones? Sorry about all the questions, I'm just looking for some info that might shed some light on all my worries!

September 20, 2009 - 5:06pm
(reply to Anonymous)

I am sorry to hear that you are going through that too. I was nine weeks pregnant with my 3rd baby when I experinced the horrible pain. It is apparently not that common but I had tissue that had gotten trapped and that was causing the pain. The doctor hoped to not have to operate until after I had the baby and luckily, that is just what happened. My general surgeon basicly put me on bed rest (he didn't want me lifting, exercising or doing anything that could make that strangulation worse during that 9-12 weeks. After that, I was fine. I did have an easy vaginal birth. I had the surgery done when my baby was 2 months old. (I don't plan on having any more children.) I didn't breastfeed that day after the surgery because of the anthesthesia. (And it was AWFUL to not be able to have water after midnight the day before the surgery. My baby was still eating every few hours and it made me very thirsty.) I had pumped milk saved for him that day. I still needed to pump but I just through it away. I was breastfeeding normally by the next day. As far as the recovery, I was lucky to have my Mom in town to help me. I was sore in that area for several days (It also became very bruised which I was told is normal.) and was restricted to lifting only the baby and no driving as long as I was taking the pain pills. (Which I didn't take for more that one day anyway.) Hope that answers some of your questions. Please contact me if you have any more and don't forget to double check with your doctor since everyone's situation can be different. Good luck!

September 23, 2009 - 5:05pm
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