A hernia is caused by a weakness in the belly wall. The muscles of the baby’s belly do not close tightly around the belly button. This causes soft tissue to poke out through the opening.
This problem is more common in Black babies. Other things that may raise the risk are:
Being born too early
Low birth weight
This problem does not cause symptoms often. A bulge may be seen around the belly button. This may happen when the baby cries, coughs, or passes stool.
The doctor will ask about the baby's symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor will make the diagnosis based on the exam.
Most hernias will close on their own within the first 5 years of life.
Sometimes a hernia does not close. Surgery will be done to put the tissue back into place. Surgery may also be needed for hernias that are causing problems, such as blocking the intestine or blood flow. These will need surgery right away.
There are no current guidelines to prevent an umbilical hernia.
Pediatric umbilical hernia repair. American College of Surgeons website. Available at: https://www.facs.org/~/media/files/education/patient%20ed/pediatricumbilical.ashx. Accessed December 15, 2020.
Umbilical cord care. American Academy of Pediatrics Healthychildren.org website. Available at: https://healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/bathing-skin-care/Pages/Umbilical-Cord-Care.aspx. Accessed December 15, 2020.
Umbilical hernia in infants and children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115363/Umbilical-hernia-in-infants-and-children. Accessed December 15, 2020.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.