Umbilical hernia in a newborn

The displacement of some internal organs in the abdominal cavity beyond the navel ring leads to the diagnosis of umbilical hernia in the newborn.

This pathology occurs in every fifth baby born as a result of a normal pregnancy and childbirth, and in every third baby who was born prematurely.

An umbilical hernia diagnosed in infants is the most common surgical disease at 1 year old. It is worth noting that minor defects of the umbilical ring are observed in almost all newborns.

The structure of the umbilical hernia

It is important for parents to understand what an umbilical hernia is if it is found in an infant. In the central part of the abdomen is the umbilical ring, consisting of ligaments. Thanks to him, during pregnancy, the child received food and oxygen through the umbilical cord of the mother. After childbirth, the umbilical cord is bandaged, its vessels should normally tighten, and the ring itself should close and heal with connective tissue.

If this does not happen, the internal organs (usually the omentum and the intestinal loops) begin to protrude through it from the inside. A similar situation can occur in the mother: if the umbilical ring stretches and weakens during pregnancy, a hernia after cesarean section or conventional birth is guaranteed.

After childbirth, all children have a weak and not completely overgrown umbilical ring, so minor visual signs of a navel hernia in a newborn will be noticeable. But in most children, this condition quickly and independently disappears within 1 month, while others are diagnosed and prescribed the necessary treatment to prevent infringement of umbilical hernia in newborns.


The main reasons that result in an umbilical hernia in the baby are associated with anatomically weak tissues in the umbilical region. But if there are predisposing factors, the disease develops more often.

These include:

  • prematurity;
  • underweight baby at birth;
  • genetic predisposition;
  • frequent conditions during which intra-abdominal pressure increases (crying, coughing, constipation, etc.);
  • weak muscle tone characteristic of rickets;
  • gender: umbilical hernia in newborn boys is diagnosed less often than among girls .

Many parents believe that the disease is preceded by improper bandaging of the umbilical cord to the child immediately after childbirth. This is just a myth, since this action can in no way affect muscle weakness and the extension of the umbilical ring.

Anatomical features

Hernia in infants is of two types – congenital and acquired.

Congenital pathology develops as a result of the anatomical features of the child’s body. Some babies are born with connective tissue dysplasia. The muscles and tissues of the umbilical ring and abdominal wall in these children are also weak. Therefore, in newborns, an umbilical hernia develops, which requires treatment.

An acquired hernia is formed against the background of frequent tension of the abdominal wall, when increased abdominal pressure exerts an effect on the internal organs. In this case, compliance with preventive measures will help get rid of the alleged development of umbilical hernia in newborns.

Causes of Long Umbilical Ring Unclosure

If the child is long and often cries, suffers from constipation and bloating, his tummy is in constant tension. The same condition often occurs in infants when it is summer outside and the baby reacts to the heat with pronounced anxiety. Increased intra-abdominal pressure interferes with the normal constriction of the umbilical ring, which means that loops of the intestine or omentum may be in it. In this case, young parents can see what the umbilical hernia in newborns looks like with the naked eye.

To prevent this, it is necessary to pay more attention to the child, to prevent a long cry. At the first signs of protrusion, treatment at home should not be carried out, especially, use a conspiracy that does not have a therapeutic effect. The presence of signs of the disease should be reported to the doctor, who will give appropriate recommendations.


Umbilical hernia in infants is determined as early as 1 month of life. The navel that sticks forward is visible to the naked eye, however, in some babies this is just an anatomical feature called the “skin navel”. In order not to confuse this condition with a true disease, parents should know the signs of an umbilical hernia in a baby.

So, the symptoms of a navel hernia in a child will be as follows:

  • protrusion of a round shape in the region of the umbilical ring, easily adjusted back, its diameter varies between 1-10 cm;
  • when the baby is relaxed, the pathology is most often invisible, but it is worth straining the abdominal wall, as the disease returns again;
  • the child is restless, weather sensitive;
  • the hernia itself in the child does not cause pain, but is often accompanied by flatulence, which leads to unnecessary anxiety of the baby.

If, against the background of this disease, severe bloating, pain, general weakness, nausea and vomiting occur, most likely it is a complication of umbilical hernia in infants  –  coprostasis. In this case, there is an accumulation of feces in the intestines, which cause serious discomfort to the child. Urgently see a doctor.

How to determine the presence of umbilical hernia?

Outwardly, the navel looks enlarged, and during the crying of the child, it becomes even larger. When pressed, it goes inside the abdominal cavity, and a specific gurgle appears. Based on these signs, the mother herself can determine the presence of a hernia in the baby.

The final diagnosis is made by the pediatrician or surgeon during the examination of the child. If the situation is running, additional diagnostic methods are prescribed – radiography, ultrasound, herniography, which are necessary before surgical treatment.


Umbilical hernia in a newborn requires compulsory treatment under the supervision of a doctor. Choosing a tactic, the specialist takes as a basis the size and symptoms of an umbilical hernia in infants. If the protrusion is more than 2 cm, surgery is necessary. Also, the doctor can offer massage, wearing a bandage and an umbilical hernia patch for newborns. How to treat umbilical hernia?


If the pathology is poorly expressed, the specialist will offer observation and will not rush with surgical treatment. A simple massage with umbilical hernia in newborns, performed by a professional, gives good results.

The movements during the procedure should be light, without physical effort and pressure in the following directions:

  • clockwise;
  • oncoming;
  • along the oblique muscles.

These movements must be supplemented by rubbing the abdomen and weak tucks around the umbilical ring. Also during the massage, light soothing strokes should be performed.

Laying on the tummy

Prevention and treatment of umbilical hernia in newborns can be practiced in this simple way. Pediatricians recommend laying the baby on a hard surface on the stomach a quarter of an hour before feeding. Once in this position, the baby will be active, moving all parts of the body. At the same time, intra-abdominal pressure is significantly reduced due to the removal of gases. Systematic spreading on the tummy strengthens the muscles of the abdominal wall.

Surgical intervention

An operation for umbilical hernia in newborns is performed according to the following indications:

  • increased protrusion in size (in children from 1 year);
  • infringement of a hernia;
  • the diagnosis is preserved up to 5 years.

The main task of the operation is to remove the umbilical ring defect. The method is called hernioplasty. The doctor excises the hernial sac, sutures and strengthens the hernial gate, returning the internal organs to the abdominal cavity. The operation lasts no more than half an hour. On the same day, in the absence of complications, the child can return home.

Folk methods

Among the popular folk methods for treating umbilical hernia in infants, a conspiracy stands out. Our ancestors believed that this pathology appears in children due to the influence of evil forces. The technique is as follows: after the baby is awakened, the mother needs to slightly bite the protrusion on her stomach and pronounce the following conspiracy: “Hernia, I gnaw you, you have one tooth, but I have seven, I will eat you.” Read the plot three times, each time spitting over your left shoulder.

Believe it or not, that the treatment in this way will affect the umbilical hernia in newborns, everyone’s business. But it is better to entrust the health of the child to professionals.

An umbilical hernia bandage for infants is also used. This is a belt made of natural elastic fabric. The tool strengthens the abdominal muscles, contributing to the overgrowth of the umbilical ring. It is put on in the morning, after setting the hernial sac into the abdominal cavity, and is worn during the day.

You can also purchase an umbilical hernia patch for babies, which is sold at the pharmacy. A wide tape of the patch fixes the abdominal wall, allowing you to straighten the protrusion. The patch is changed every 10 days. It is better to entrust the procedure for gluing the patch to the doctor.


If the umbilical hernia in the newborn was pinched, it is urgent to go to the hospital. This condition is a complication of this disease – internal organs that have fallen into the umbilical ring are blocked in it as a result of a spasm. The blood vessels of the intestines are under pressure, they do not receive blood, the condition of the child worsens sharply.

In addition to the operation, nothing can be helped with pinching the hernia. Fortunately, this complication is very rare.


Proper care of the baby and the implementation of preventive measures can prevent the development of umbilical hernia in a child up to 1 year old, even if there is a predisposition to this disease.

So, what should be the prevention:

  • preservation of lactation in mothers allows children to avoid digestion problems in children at 1 year of age, namely constipation, flatulence, intestinal dysbiosis;
  • a nursing mother must follow a diet, avoiding foods that cause flatulence in the child (grapes, beans, cabbage, etc.);
  • you can’t allow the child to be long and often cry, you need to protect him from colds, as crying and cough increase intra-abdominal pressure, and, therefore, can aggravate the symptoms of umbilical hernia in newborns.

Despite the fact that this disease is actually treatable, the lack of preventive measures and elementary ignorance of parents about what umbilical hernia looks like in newborns, what to do and how to treat this condition can cause serious consequences. The most dangerous of them is pinching the hernial sac and organs that were in it at that time. In the absence of the necessary treatment, this condition can result in necrosis and peritonitis, which is dangerous for the life of the child.

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