What Causes Belly Button Pain During Pregnancy?

Contributor
·4-min read

Nine months is a long time and brings with it many new surprises. Just when you begin to recover from morning sickness, another discomfort pops up. You may even develop aches in places you never bothered to check, like navel pain during pregnancy.

And if you’re one of the many expecting mums who is experiencing this type of pain, you are not alone. Most women experience some or the other kind of uneasiness due to increasing belly size. The skin undergoes inevitable stretching, causing pain in the belly button, also called navel pain.

It is likely to start in your second or third trimester, as your belly starts expanding.

What Causes Navel Pain During Pregnancy?

navel pain during pregnancy
navel pain during pregnancy

Image source: iStock

1. Stretching of tummy

As you enter the second trimester, the size and the weight of the baby grows rapidly, and your uterus struggles to fit into the pelvis cavity. It shifts upward between the navel and your breast. The stretching of the skin and muscles around the belly causes navel pain during pregnancy.

Gynaecologists call this stretching Diastasis rectus abdominis or Diastasis recti. In this condition, a vertical white line ‘linea alba’ that runs vertically down from the navel to the pubis separates the abdomen muscles. The stretching of muscles along this line due to the increased pressure causes pain. This stretching can increase in the second trimester and becomes more severe in the third trimester.

2. Navel piercing

If you have a belly button ring, then you need to practice extra care to avoid infection in that area. In case its a very recent piercing, it is better to remove it because it takes almost a year to heal the pierced hole.

And if the pierced hole is on tight skin, stretching may cause tears and increase the risk of infection. You need to talk to a doctor if the piercing is very recent and still in the healing stage.

3. Umbilical hernia

Hernia is not common in pregnancy (only 0.2% prevalence). But you cannot ignore it. The uterus’ increased pressure may push your bowel into the umbilical cavity and cause an umbilical hernia. Because of this, the fibrous connective tissue around the umbilical ring becomes weak. Although it is worth noting that chances of hernia are higher in women who are severely obese or pregnant with multiple babies.

If you are suffering from umbilical hernia, doctors will not perform surgery immediately. Generally, they follow the ‘watchful waiting’ strategy, monitor the symptoms and their progress. If the hernia is very small and doesn’t show any symptoms, the repair is postponed until after delivery.

4. Pressure from the uterus

Your uterus is quite small in the first trimester, and your tummy may not be visible. But in the second trimester, it grows in size and pushes your abdomen as well as the belly button. This also causes navel pain during pregnancy.

5. Popped belly button

Usually, the belly button is tilted inwards, but uterine pressure pushes it outward, making it ‘pop out.’ The popped belly button is sensitive to touch and gets irritated quickly. Which is why you may feel pain in your navel area.

Home Remedies To Relieve Navel Pain During Pregnancy?

belly button pain pregnancy second trimester
belly button pain pregnancy second trimester

Image source: iStock

  • Gently apply soothing aloe vera gel or calamine lotion to the affected area. It soothes sensitive skin and relieves itching and pain.

  • Apply warm or moderately cool compresses on the navel area. Avoid ice-packs and excessively hot water bags because your tummy skin is already very sensitive.

  • You can do some light exercises specially designed for Diastasis recti after consulting your doctor.

  • If the pain is due to an umbilical hernia, you need to consult your doctor. If it is not due to an umbilical hernia, you can do a mild massage or exercise.

  • Scientific studies have shown that complimentary manual therapies are useful for pelvic and back pain in pregnancy.

When Should You Visit The Doctor?

Image source: iStock

  • If your belly button skin is red, inflamed, and swollen, or if the pain is unbearable, you should consult a doctor immediately without any delay.

  • Immediately contact the doctor if you have a fever, vomiting, bleeding, or any condition requiring immediate attention.

However, there is no need to worry. In most cases, belly button pain is not complicated, and home remedies are usually effective in relieving the irritation due to stretching.

Medications And Treatments

Typically, for navel pain during pregnancy, doctors may advise symptomatic treatment to relieve pain. For severe pain, a detailed investigation may be necessary to diagnose the cause. Accordingly, treatment will be prescribed.

What To Expect After Recovery?

Follow the doctor’s advice and take ample rest. If you are prescribed any medication, continue as per the schedule. You need to be more cautious. If the symptoms persist or increase contact with the doctor immediately.

ALSO READ:

Why Does My Pregnancy Belly Feel So Hard?

Why Does Your Belly Button Pop Out During Pregnancy?

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