If you’re belly button suddenly starts hurting during pregnancy, it’s normal to wonder if you should be concerned. The answer? Nope. It’s pretty natural for your belly button to be sore.
As your belly grows, your natural tissues—the ones that hold your muscles—stretch in a way that hasn’t happened before (if this is your first pregnancy, of course). As your body gets used to a belly growth spurt, you’ll have some discomfort, but it’ll get better with time.
Another fun trick that pregnancy plays on you that you might want to be prepared for? Sometimes an innie becomes an outtie! This happens because of a combination of the stretching and the pressure your growing uterus is putting on your abdomen. If you’re not a huge fan of the outtie, don’t worry—it’s not permanent. It usually returns to normal after delivery once your body gets back to its original state (or close to it), although it may look a little stretched—expect that to happen around six weeks after delivery.
Belly Button Hurts When Pregnant
During pregnancy your body undergoes numerous changes to accommodate the developing baby inside your uterus.
Some women don’t experience any bellybutton pain. Others might have pain in one pregnancy, but not the next.
If you’re uncomfortable, don’t fret. Bellybutton pain is common. It’s more likely to start as your belly gets bigger, especially in the second and third trimesters.
These changes are both internal and external. One of the most common reasons that your belly button hurts when pregnant is the internal change that occurs in your body. You may experience pain and soreness in and around your navel. The naval region may also develop swelling. Several other reasons could also cause your belly button to hurt. Read on to learn from experiences of other people so that you know how to deal with this condition.
Why Does Belly Button Hurt When Pregnant?
The reason you’re experiencing bellybutton pain could depend on your body shape, how you’re carrying, and your skin’s elasticity. Or, a host of other factors and/or possible medical conditions could be to blame.
More often than not, the pain isn’t dangerous. It should go away with time, or after delivery.
Here are some of the common culprits.
Pain in the belly button is a common complaint experienced by many pregnant females. In majority of the females this pain is mild; however, in some females, there may be some issue that needs medical intervention. The most common causes of belly button pain are described below:
1. Stretching of the Abdominal Skin and Muscles
The muscles and the skin around the belly button stretch, leading to discomfort in that area. This is especially true is the belly button protrudes inward but due to the skin expansion and stretch, it begins to protrude outward. For many females, pain and soreness due to stretching of skin and abdominal muscles last for only the first half of pregnancy.
Your skin and muscles are stretched to the max by the end of your pregnancy. You can develop stretch marks, itchiness, and pain as you go through stages of rapid growth. Your bellybutton is at center stage during all this moving and shifting. The bellybutton can get irritated in the process.
2. Uterine Pressure
Pain may also be experienced in cases where the expanding uterus (as the baby grows) presses the belly button. This is more common in the later weeks of pregnancy.
In the first trimester, your uterus is relatively small and doesn’t reach far beyond your pubic bone. As the uterus pops up and out, you start showing. The pressure from the inside of your body pushes on your abdomen and bellybutton.
By the third trimester, your uterus is up way beyond your bellybutton. It’s pressing forward with the weight of the amniotic fluid and baby, among other things.
Have you ever heard a woman say her bellybutton has popped? Usually this phenomenon happens in very late pregnancy. It just means that a bellybutton that was once more of an “innie” has protruded out with the added pressure from the uterus and baby. Even if you have an “innie,” your bellybutton may stay put and not pop.
3. Belly Button Protrudes Outwards
In some females the naval may push outward instead of inward by the stretching of their bellies and gets irritated from contact with clothes leading to pain in the belly button. If your belly is hurting due to this reason, then putting a bandage on your navel or wearing soft clothes may help lessen the irritation.
4. Umbilical Hernia
Belly button pain may also be caused due to umbilical hernia. Umbilical hernia occurs when the intestines protrude from a small hole in the abdominal wall near the belly button. Umbilical hernia often gets resolved by itself after delivery, but in some cases, it may require surgery.
An umbilical hernia happens when there’s too much pressure in the abdomen. This condition doesn’t just affect pregnant women. But you’re at a higher risk of developing it if you’re pregnant with multiples, or if you’re obese. Along with bellybutton pain, you might notice a bulge near your navel, swelling, or vomiting.
5. Intestinal Infection
Apart from the usual mild pain in the belly button due to the causes mentioned above, severe cramping pain in the abdominal area near the navel, associated with symptoms of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and increased temperature may occur due to infection of the intestines and requires emergency medical intervention.
Vomiting and diarrhea may cause contractions of the bowel and uterus. Moreover, toxins produced from the pathogenic organisms that have caused the infection may have adverse effects on the developing fetus, thereby, increasing the chances of termination of pregnancy before term.
After the infection has been eliminated and symptoms have subsided, the state of the developing fetus should be assessed with the help of necessary diagnostic tools.
6. Piercing of the Belly Button
Do you have a bellybutton ring? If it’s a new piercing, you might want to take it out to avoid infection. It can take a piercing up to a year to fully heal. If you think you might have an infection (warmth, itching, burning, oozing, etc.), don’t remove the jewelry without asking your doctor. You could seal the infection inside and cause an abscess to form.
Females who get their belly button pierced during pregnancy have a greater risk of developing sharp pain and soreness in the belly button area. Piercing of belly button also increases the risk of acquiring infection in that area leading to pus formation, pain and swelling. If these symptoms occur, then you should immediately get your belly button ring removed under the supervision of an expert and visit your physician to get treatment of the condition.
If belly button piercing was done before your getting pregnant, then the pain and soreness may not necessarily be caused due to this reason. However, belly button piercing should be avoided during pregnancy as the sensitivity of the belly button area increases during pregnancy. If you have a piercing before pregnancy and your ring is causing you discomfort, then you should get it removed by an expert and in its place wear a maternity ring that is manufactured using medical grade plastic and it adjusts perfectly with your expanding belly.
Ease the Discomfort
Your bellybutton pain may come and go throughout pregnancy as you experience stages of rapid growth. Some women may get used to the pressure and stretching early on. For others, the pain is worse during the final weeks when your belly is the biggest.
Taking pressure off your belly may help. Try sleeping on your side or supporting your belly with pillows to take a load off.
A maternity support belt may help alleviate back and abdominal soreness while standing. You can also apply soothing pregnancy-safe lotions or cocoa butter to skin that’s itchy and irritated.