A Hernia is the protrusion or displacement of organs or tissues through an opening in their surrounding muscles.
Pregnant women will face some remarkable changes in their bodies. One of the most obvious being a noticeable increase in weight.
This weight gain occurs not only because of the growing fetus but also due to retention of fluids, a higher amount of circulating blood, increased fat, and the uterus’ muscle mass increase, etc.
In some odd cases, these changes can make an Umbilical Hernia arise. However, the potential development of this condition during pregnancy is a pretty mild concern.
An Umbilical Hernia occurs at the navel because fatty tissues or part of the bowel protrudes through an opening in the abdominal wall. It looks like a lump in the navel, and it becomes more evident in time.
More often than not, it occurs in babies. But in a few cases, it affects pregnant women.
Some might think pregnancy causes the condition, but medical experts stated that the development of an Umbilical Hernia is unrelated to human gestation.
Another type of hernias that could affect pregnant women are Femoral Hernias, which affects the tissues below the groin, near the femoral artery. It looks like a bulge in near the pelvic area.
The factors involved in the occurrence of an Umbilical Hernia during pregnancy are virtually the same as in other cases at any point in life.
The cause of an Umbilical Hernia is an anatomical defect in the navel or umbilicus.
Babies are physically connected to their mother by the umbilical cord, which passes through a small opening between the muscle layers of the abdominals walls.
More often than not, this little hole between the muscles closes itself after birth.
The anatomical flaw that causes an Umbilical Hernia occurs when this opening doesn’t close properly. In a few cases, a child can grow without feeling any side-effect due to this defect.
It is present as a muscle weakness since the day the person is born, remaining latent for years and decades until finally manifesting at the moment of pregnancy.
When it comes to a Femoral Hernia, the cause is performing some relatively hard physical effort, such as heavy lifting.
Symptoms of Hernia During Pregnancy
Usually, an Umbilical Hernia in a pregnant patient is asymptomatic. That means the women who suffer from this condition are very unlikely to display any of the typical signs of this disease.
However, in some cases, it is possible to notice the development of a protrusion at the umbilical area the moment the patient is exerting physical effort.
And while is not something usual, some patients might experience pain or discomfort, which becomes more intense the more the pregnant woman stays active, bends over, cough, or laugh.
Another potential symptom would be the feeling of tenderness in the affected area.
In the case of a Femoral Hernia, the sufferer may display limited movement. The patient will likely find it difficult to walk, and the issue might worsen in time.
How could it affect pregnancy?
Aside from the small possibility of pain, umbilical hernias pose no threat to the health of the woman nor her child. Usually, they’re not harmful conditions, and they don’t affect the baby’s development.
However, sometimes weight gain can put stress on the muscles of the weakened abdominal wall. When such thing happens, the protrusion might start to feel pain.
When this pain becomes so intense that it interferes with the patient’s lifestyle, the only way to get rid of such discomfort is through a surgical procedure.
A Femoral Hernia is a more severe condition because it can cut off blood supply to the tissues and organs near the affected area. That can cause gangrene, a bacterial infection or even death.
What to do?
Getting surgical treatment to deal with any of these hernias might present a remarkable danger to the well-being of the unborn child.
That is why medical experts insist that doctors should not perform surgery during the woman’s pregnancy or the puerperium (the period between childbirth and the return of the uterus to its usual size).
The best moment to treat these conditions is after the puerperium. Doctors must correct the issue; otherwise, the patient might develop the very same disease, once again, during her next pregnancy.
If the condition worsens, doctors might consider necessary to operate while the patient is still pregnant.
In these cases, to minimize the danger to the child’s life, medical experts suggest performing the surgery during the second trimester.