How Do I Know if I've Developed a Post Pregnancy Hernia?

I had a baby 9 weeks ago. My abs felt like they had a split. I spoke to my OB and they determined it to be so. I'm wondering what the best way to repair is. Also noticing my belly button feels incredibly different/thick, as if there is an additional piece inside. If I press it, there's a noise (squishing sound).

Doctor Answers 7

Post Pregnancy Hernia Repair

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Based on your description it sounds like you may have a developed an umbilical hernia following you pregnancy which is not unusual. You should give your tummy more time to recover from the effects of pregnancy, but if this doesn't change or worsens, you may need to have it repaired. If your abdominal muscles are widely separated - a condition called rectus diastasis - then you might wish to have this repaired as well. The umbilical hernia can usually be repaired through an incision at the margin of your belly button. Repair of rectus diastasis is more extensive and is often corrected through some variation of a Tummy Tuck but you wouldn't want to do this unless you were done having children

Hernia and Diastasis

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Your history suggests the presence of an umbilical hernia and a rectus diastasis, unfortunately, it’s impossible to confirm this diagnosis without a physical examination.
During pregnancy the abdominal wall becomes stretched by the rapid expansion of the intra-abdominal contents.In many cases, this results in separation of the paired rectus muscle in the midline and the formation of a diastasis.This can also result in the formation of an umbilical hernia.This diastasis extends from the pubic bone to the rib cage and is especially noticeable when the abdominal muscles are flexed.
Correction of a diastasis recti involves suture repair of the gaps between the pubic bone and the rib cage. At this time, it’s relatively easy to simultaneously perform an umbilical hernia repair. This repair requires exposure of the underlying muscles by separating them from the overlying skin.These maneuvers can easily be performed during an abdominoplasty procedure.
If you’re concerned about your abdominal contour, it’s appropriate to consult a board certified plastic surgeon.This surgeon should be able to formulate a treatment plan that addresses your anatomic findings and achieves your aesthetic goals

Post pregnancy "hernia"??????

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It seems that what you are describing is a condition we refer to as a "rectus diastasis". This is a technical term for a condition in which the central muscles of the abdomen have separated in the midline. It is not a hernia. Although umbilical (belly button) hernias can ocur with a certain amount of frequency in post-partum abdomens. The squishing sound when you press on the belly button could very well represent that umbilical hernia. In any case, the hernia could be repaired without a simultaneous tummy-tuck. However, the repair of the "diastasis" is usually performed in conjunction with wa tummy-tuck. This involves bringing the central muscles together from the breast bone all the way down to the pubic area. Thereby leaving you as flat as possible.


Jose Perez-Gurri, M.D.,F.A.C.S.

Belly button hernia and muscles stretched after pregnancy

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It is usually good to wait about three months post-pregnacy to consider surgery to fix your tummy. From what you describe it sounds like you have either an umbilical hernia, diastasis recti, or both.  both of these can be fixed during a tummy tuck if that is what you choose. Obviously, if the belly button is hurting you, go see your doctor right away to may sure that nothing serious is going on. Otherwise, see two or more board-certified plastic surgeons in your area for a full and complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have surgery.  I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Belly button

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The squishy feel of your belly button that you describe sounds pretty typical of an umbilical hernia.  The description of your muscles feeling split could either be stretching of the muscles or a true hernia.  It's a little early since your c-section to undergo a tummy tuck.  You might want to have a consult with a plastic surgeon.  Also, are you planning to have more children?  If so you would want to wait until after you are done having children before proceeding  with an abdominoplasty.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Post-Pregnancy Tummy Muscle Separation and possible Umbilical Hernia

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Your condition is not uncommon. Ultimately the treatment will be a surgical repair. Unless the umbilical hernia poses a risk, based on a general surgeon's examination, I would wait until you are sure this was your last pregnancy. At that time a Full Abdominopasty will correct all muscle flabbiness, an umbilical Hernan and remove all excess tummy skin. 

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Umbilical Hernia?

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Thank you for the question.

Based on your description sounds like you have an umbilical hernia. It sounds like your OB/GYN has confirmed it as well.

Umbilical hernia repair can be done as a outpatient procedure;  and can also be done while undergoing a tummy tuck procedure if this fits in your plans. The tummy tuck procedure is best done when you have completed having pregnancies and have reached a long-term stable weight.

Best wishes.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.