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Welcoming your baby to this amazing world and cradling him in your arms is one of the most overwhelming feelings a woman can 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 because of several reasons, even after your baby is born. One of the reasons for post-delivery pains is a hernia which is also known as a postpartum hernia. A hernia can occur anywhere in the body, for example, the thighs, lower abdomen or groin area. But, if it becomes extremely painful, you need to seek medical attention right away.
What is an Umbilical Hernia?
An umbilical hernia is when the belly button protrudes outwards post-delivery. It may feel soft and tender to touch, and you may also be able to push it in sometimes. The most common symptom of an umbilical hernia is experiencing strain on the lower abdomen while sneezing and coughing continuously, or even while lifting heavyweights. Along with experiencing strain, protrusion also becomes prominent.
Causes of Post Delivery Umbilical Hernia
An umbilical hernia is caused due to the excessive pressure built-up in the abdomen and pelvic area. A few babies have a pre-existing defect in the umbilical region, which becomes apparent when they grow up and become pregnant themselves leading to umbilical hernia. This condition could also be due to weak abdominal muscles or due to increased abdominal pressure. 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, 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 lead to 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 the 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 umbilical hernia.
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 the case of a 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. This type of hernia is called an incisional hernia. 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
A post-pregnancy umbilical hernia can be treated effectively by surgical means. Some doctors, however, may also suggest non-surgery treatments, which basically include exercising and correcting the posture. Let’s find out which one can provide relief from the condition.
1. Surgical Treatment
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
The chances of reduction of umbilical hernia are very less by the non-surgical method. However, some doctors may recommend regular exercising like yoga, aerobics, and stretching instead of surgery. Exercising generally strengthens the weaker muscles and could help ease the protrusion back to normal. Performing exercises that do not put excessive pressure on your abdomen and pelvic muscles could give better results. Thus, one may go for breathing exercises, yoga, stretching, cycling, and meditation. 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 can 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 necessary to keep your body healthy, and fit.