Bellybutton Pain During Pregnancy – What it indicates?

Experiencing bellybutton pain during the second and the third trimester of pregnancy is quite common in many women. During pregnancy, the body experiences many physical changes as the baby starts to grow inside the womb. One of the most noticeable change is, of course, the changes to the abdomen, including the change in the shape of the belly button. During pregnancy, the belly button becomes the attachment point for the placenta. It has been observed that most of the times, bellybutton pain is usually harmless and disappears after delivery. However, there can be some cases where having bellybutton pain points to an underlying issue with your pregnancy. So let’s look at why many women feel bellybutton pain during pregnancy and what it indicates. We also take a look at why you may experience bellybutton pain during your pregnancy, how you can ease the pain, and warning signs that indicate you need to consult your doctor.

What to Expect When You Experience Bellybutton Pain During Pregnancy?

As mentioned above, during pregnancy, your body undergoes many changes. From one month to the next, your abdomen goes through tremendous changes, including the changing shape of your belly button. Many women never experience any bellybutton pain, while some experience bellybutton pain throughout their pregnancy. Some women may experience this pain during one pregnancy, but not in the next one.

If you are experiencing bellybutton pain then there is no need to panic. It is a fairly common discomfort of pregnancy and it typically starts as your stomach starts getting bigger. This is usually during the second or third trimesters of your pregnancy.

What Causes Bellybutton Pain During Pregnancy?

There could be many causes of bellybutton pain and it is not exactly understood very well as to why some pregnant women experience bellybutton pain while others do not. It is typically believed that bellybutton pain is caused because of your body shape, how your baby is positioned in the womb, and the elasticity of your skin as your belly grows bigger. There are also many other factors and even underlying medical condition that can cause belly button pain during pregnancy.
In a majority of cases, bellybutton pain is nothing dangerous and it tends to go away after delivery.

Some of the common causes of bellybutton pain during pregnancy are discussed below:

  1. Pressure on the Abdomen from the Uterus: One of the most common reasons for experiencing bellybutton pain during pregnancy is that the uterus starts putting pressure against your belly button. When you are in your first trimester of pregnancy, the size of the uterus is quite small and it does not reach beyond the pubic bone. As your pregnancy progresses, your uterus pops out and you start showing your growing belly. During the second and third trimester, there is a lot of pressure from inside the body that constantly pushes on your bellybutton and abdomen. By the time you reach the third trimester, the uterus is pressing forward up way beyond the bellybutton. The uterus starts pushing with the weight of the baby as well as the amniotic fluid. During this phase, many women notice that their bellybutton has popped. This happens during the late stages of your pregnancy. The bellybutton starts to protrude out due to the pressure exerted by the baby and the uterus. This is why you may experience a lot of bellybutton discomfort during this stage.
  2. Stretching: As you are about to reach the end of your pregnancy, your muscles and your skin are getting stretched to their maximum limit. As our skin and muscles go through these stages of rapid stretching and growth, you will notice that you start to develop stretch marks. You may also feel itchy on your abdomen and this is when you may also experience bellybutton pain since the bellybutton remains at the center of all the moving and shifting happening inside the stomach. During all these ongoing processes, the bellybutton may become irritated, thus causing you to feel pain.
  3. Popped Belly Button: As mentioned in the above point, many women experience a popped bellybutton during their pregnancy. This happens when the inward bellybutton is pushed outward due to the pressure exerted by the growing baby and the uterus. A popped bellybutton can also be a cause of bellybutton pain.
  4. Bellybutton Piercing: Women who have their bellybuttons pierced or have a bellybutton ring should be careful. If you have a new piercing then you should take it out after finding out you are pregnant in order to avoid infection. It takes a piercing almost a year to heal completely and if you are pregnant and the piercing becomes infected, it will become difficult for your doctor to treat you since it’s not safe to take medications during pregnancy. An infected piercing can also cause bellybutton pain. If you feel that you have an infection, then do not remove the jewelry without consulting your doctor. This because improper removal of the jewelry may cause the infection to get sealed inside, leading to the formation of an abscess. Furthermore, an injured or torn bellybutton only increases the risk of infection.
  5. An Umbilical Hernia: It may sound dangerous, but an umbilical hernia does not generally cause harm to the fetus or a pregnant woman. This type of a hernia happens when the pressure of the growing baby pushes the baby into the umbilical cavity. The bowel can become trapped there, causing pain and becoming inflamed. Umbilical hernias also occur due to an increase in the pressure exerted by your uterus. Your doctor will typically recommend that you wait and watch rather than performing any surgery, until unless a hernia starts causing complications. If your doctor feels that there is a risk of strangulation or incarceration, then he/she will proceed with the surgery, keeping the safety of the baby in mind. While any type of surgery poses a risk to the fetus and the mother, the risk associated with an umbilical hernia surgery is relatively low and unlikely to cause harm to the baby or the mother.

How to Ease Bellybutton Pain During Pregnancy?

When you experience bellybutton pain, you will notice that it tends to come and go throughout your pregnancy. At stages of a rapid growth of the fetus, you will experience an increase in the pain, while at other times the pain may be less or it may even go away for some time. Towards the final weeks of pregnancy, when the belly is stretched completely and is at its biggest, most women report the pain to be worst. On the other hand, many women also become used to the pressure being exerted and the skin stretching from the start of the pregnancy itself.

If you want to ease the discomfort of bellybutton pain during pregnancy, you may try to take some pressure off your belly. To do this, you can opt to sleep on your side or you can also use pillows to support your belly and take the pressure off.

Some pregnant women find that wearing a maternity support belt also helps ease bellybutton pain, while at the same time alleviates soreness of the back and abdomen while standing. Applying cocoa butter or body lotions that are safe to be used during pregnancy can help with the stretching of the skin that makes the belly feel itchy and causes irritation.

Should You Be Concerned of Belly Button pain During Pregnancy?

While on and off bellybutton pain during pregnancy is nothing to worry about, if you notice any of the below-mentioned symptoms or if your pain becomes severe, then you should contact your doctor right away or go to the emergency room immediately.

Your doctor will need to rule out an umbilical hernia, an infection, or any other medical conditions that may require immediate treatment or complications which may harm your baby.

Conclusion

There are many common discomforts associated with pregnancy and bellybutton pain is one of them. In most women, bellybutton pain disappears soon enough, while others notice that it only goes away after the delivery. Check with your doctor if you find the pain to be unbearable or if you are concerned about anything else.

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