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 call line 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 call 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 call line if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Brad W. Warner, MD - Pediatric Surgery, Critical Care Medicine
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