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An umbilical hernia is a bulge near the belly button, or navel. Intestines or other tissues may bulge through an opening or a weak spot in the stomach muscles. The hernia has a sac that may hold some intestine, fat, or fluid. A baby can be born with a hernia. But parents may not notice it until the umbilical cord stump falls off, which may be a few days to a couple of weeks after birth. Usually, umbilical hernias are not painful or dangerous.
Most umbilical hernias close on their own without treatment, usually in a baby's first year or by age 4 or 5 years. A child usually needs surgery only if the hernia is very large or has not gone away by the time the child is 4 or 5. While you wait for the hernia to close, watch for signs of any problems. In rare cases, the hernia can trap some of the intestine and cut off its blood supply. If this happens, your baby needs treatment right away.
Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: March 22, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Steven J. Atlas MD, MPH - Internal Medicine & Heather Quinn MD - Family Medicine & Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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