Belly Button during Pregnancy


During pregnancy, a woman’s body changes in many ways. The belly button, too, changes in appearance.


How Does the Belly Button Change During Pregnancy?

Due to the growing baby, your concave belly button starts to protrude. Initially, you will not face this change, but after a week you will start noticing a protruded navel.


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 are quite high. 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 body starts to retain a lot of amniotic fluid, making 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 hormonal changes which cannot be controlled. Your navel may pop out during the first or second pregnancy, or it may never become an outie.

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 are experiencing. It could also be a muscular problem. For most women, such pain is momentary once the extending of the abdomen has passed 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.

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 an infection.

What Happens to the Outie Belly Button After Childbirth?

This is what happens to the outie after delivery.

  • The skin around the outie becomes loose due to the stretching of the skin during pregnancy. This issue can be solved with the help of plastic surgery.
  • An umbilical hernia is the result of fatty tissue inside your abdomen nudging too close to your belly button. Unfortunately, if you are suffering from an umbilical hernia, then it is going to 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

During pregnancy, some women complain of pain in the belly button 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 trimester.

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 an infection. A navel piercing may also be the culprit behind the pain in the belly button. As the skin around pierced also tend to stretch during pregnancy. This can cause pain as the skin around the navel becomes sensitive.

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. Now, what exactly happens there? Your body starts to accumulate copious amounts of amniotic fluid in your uterus while your pregnancy progresses. The pressure from the weight of amniotic fluids and baby forces your belly button to pop out, or as colloquially known, turns into an outie from innie. However, not all women with innie would face this belly button popping situation. Sometimes, this pressure from uterus might cause some discomfort in your belly button as well.

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.
  • 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 to relieve the pain. Tea tree oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce or limit infections.

Signs of Belly Button Pain Due to an Umbilical Hernia

Belly button pain could also be a symptom of 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 a spherical-shaped bulge near the navel.
  • You feel pain in or around the belly button when you cough, sneeze or bend over.
  • You face difficulty in moving around during the later stages of pregnancy.

Can Having 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 umbilical hernia, wearing a belly band should help to reduce the bulging and the pain. You can also gently massage the bulge until it goes back in. If it’s not bothering you, you can leave it as it is. If the hernia doesn’t get cured on its own (or with the help of special exercises), surgery may be required.

Is Surgery During Pregnancy Recommended?

Getting a 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.

Can You Prevent Belly Button Pain?

Usually, there’s not much you can do to prevent belly button pain. In most of the 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 to put a little pressure on your bulge when you sneeze or a 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 get panic, pain in belly button during pregnancy is a common phenomenon. You will likely to 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 vomiting, fever, 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 right ones to evaluate the situation and recommend the right treatment for both, i.e., you and your baby.

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.