Children's Hospital Colorado
Pediatric Surgery

Umbilical Hernia

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What is an umbilical hernia?

An umbilical hernia is when abdominal tissue or part of the intestines pokes through a small hole in the abdominal wall near the belly button (umbilicus). In most cases, umbilical hernias do not cause pain and can be gently pushed back into the belly. If the umbilical hernia becomes incarcerated (stuck), you should get immediate medical care for your child.

What causes an umbilical hernia?

All developing fetuses have a small opening in the abdominal wall where the umbilical cord passes through to connect the fetus to the mother. The hole usually closes shortly after birth. Umbilical hernias occur when this hole doesn’t close normally.

Who gets an umbilical hernia?

Umbilical hernias can occur in both boy and girl infants and are relatively common, occurring in approximately 20% of all newborns. Babies born prematurely or with low birthweights are more likely to have an umbilical hernia. Umbilical hernias are also more common in African American babies compared to other races.

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