7 Causes Of Belly Button Pain During Pregnancy And Remedies

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Belly button pain during pregnancy occurs as the trimesters progress. This is because the abdomen tries to accommodate the growing fetus. However, not many women experience this pain near the navel. Also, the pain may or may not appear in each pregnancy. The good news is that, like the other pregnancy symptoms, even this belly button pain vanishes after delivery.

Read on to know the reasons behind belly button pain in pregnancy, signs to watch out for, and home remedies to help soothe the pain.

Causes Of Belly Button Pain In Pregnancy

Belly button pain can be felt anytime in the pregnancy due to various body changes. However, most women may experience belly pain from the second trimester as the baby begins to grow significantly from this time. Women with inward dipping (innies) and outward dipping (outies) of the belly button may feel this pain.

Common causes of belly button pain in pregnancy may include (1) (2):

  1. Stretching: Abdominal muscles and skin in the belly can be stretched to accommodate the growing fetus during pregnancy. Stretching of any previous scars near the belly button can also cause pain in pregnant moms.
  1. Pressure from the uterus: Some women may feel belly pain since the growing uterus puts pressure around the belly button.
  1. Protruding belly button: Women with belly buttons dipping outward can have skin irritation and pain in the belly area due to friction with clothing. Inward belly buttons in some pregnant mothers may pop out during pregnancy. This may often occur in the second or third trimester in many cases. Many women may experience popping out of the belly button around 26 weeks of pregnancy. This is painless; however, rubbing on clothes can cause pain (3).
  1. Intestinal infections: Abdominal pain on the belly button area can also be felt during stomach flu (gastroenteritis) and other intestinal infections. Other symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, fever, and diarrhea can also be seen in such cases.
  1. Umbilical hernia: Some women can have new-onset or existing umbilical hernia during pregnancy. This can be painful as the loop of the intestine or tissues pushes through the belly button.
  1. Navel piercing: Some women may experience belly button pain due to skin irritation or infection from navel piercing during pregnancy. The skin may become more sensitive in the pregnancy, with an increased risk for infections at the piercing sites (4).
  1. Patent urachus: This is an extremely rare cause of belly button pain in adults. Urachus connects the umbilicus and bladder during fetal life, and it usually closes at birth. In rare cases, this can stay unclosed (patent) and cause belly button pain.

Dr. Robyn Horsager-Boehrer, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital, says, “Although there is no satisfying explanation for exact causes of belly button pain during pregnancy, some pregnant mothers may experience the pain even with the touch of ultrasound transducer around the belly button.”

“The belly button has a key role in fetal life. But it is not connected to anything in adults. This clarifies common misconceptions regarding belly buttons such as it is tugging abdomen to the navel or connected directly to uterus, placenta, or baby’s belly button.”, adds Dr. Horsager-Boehrer.

Home Remedies For Belly Button Pain During Pregnancy

You may try the following homecare measures if body changes of pregnancy cause belly button pain.

  • Sleep on your side or the belly-up if possible. Lying on your back can be difficult in pregnancy, so sleeping on the side can be more comfortable.
  • Wear loose, lightweight cotton clothing to reduce friction.
  • Use bandages over the belly button to avoid friction from clothing. You may also try maternal dresses than pants.
  • Use a belly band or wraps (maternity support belts) that support your abs, lower back, and hips.
  • Apply cocoa butter or moisturizer creams to the belly area to reduce skin irritation and itching.
  • Try in-water activities since it relieves the weight of the belly and back.
  • If naval piercing is causing discomfort , use piercing made of surgical stainless steel that does not irritate the skin and expands, or you may remove the piercing during the pregnancy.
  • Use a luke warm compress over the belly button to reduce pain.
  • Keep the belly area clean and dry.

These remedies may help relieve belly button pain due to pregnancy body changes. However, belly button pain due to other conditions may require medical care.

When To See A Doctor

Mild pain can be normal in most women. You may seek immediate medical care if lower abdominal or belly pain is associated with vaginal bleeding, uterine contractions, or fever. These symptoms may indicate severe problems such as preterm labor, placental abruption, or infections (5).

All pregnant mothers with hernias and other serious conditions causing belly button pain need medical attention. Doctors may recommend special belly bands or surgery for umbilical hernia depending on the severity, and this may often resolve naturally after childbirth. However, if the hernia persists even after childbirth, surgical treatment is recommended.

Intestinal infections may also require medical care and often antibiotic treatment, depending on the causes. Pain medications are prescribed for severe cases of belly button pain due to infections or hernias. You may also inform the obstetrician if the belly button pain is increasing over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What causes a sharp pain below the belly button?

Sharp or dull pain below the belly button or lower abdomen may be caused by the stretching of the round ligament (ligament pain), trapped gasses, or constipation. However, you should seek immediate medical help if the pain is persistent, severe, and occurs along with stomach cramps, blood or other vaginal discharge, or a burning sensation when peeing (6).

2. Can we apply oil to the belly button during pregnancy?

There is no scientific evidence to support that applying oil to the belly button helps alleviate belly button pain. However, oils may be used to moisturize the belly and prevent stretch marks (7).

Most pregnant moms with belly button pain may not have any serious causes and can often manage it with home remedies. Belly button pains may get better over time in most mothers. Seek medical care if you have any other conditions causing belly button pain other than pregnancy changes.

Key Pointers

  • Belly button pain during pregnancy could be caused due to pressure from the uterus, stretching, infection, or umbilical hernia, among other reasons.
  • Having a belly button piercing may also cause pain.
  • Some ways to deal with it are sleeping on the side, wearing loose clothing, and using a lukewarm compress.
  • If this pain is accompanied by vaginal bleeding, contractions, or fever, visit your doctor.

References:

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Dr Bisny T. Joseph

Dr. Bisny T. Joseph is a Georgian Board-certified physician. She has completed her professional graduate degree as a medical doctor from Tbilisi State Medical University, Georgia. She has 3+ years of experience in various sectors of medical affairs as a physician, medical reviewer, medical writer, health coach, and Q&A expert. Her interest in digital medical education and patient education made... more