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Definition  

A hernia is soft tissue that has pushed through the abdominal wall. An umbilical hernia is a hernia through the belly button. They are very common in newborns.

Most umbilical hernias will not need treatment. Some will require surgery. Immediate medical attention is rarely required.

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Causes  

During pregnancy, the umbilical cord passes from the mother to the baby through a small opening in the baby’s abdomen. A weakness in the abdomen occurs when the muscles of the baby’s abdomen do not completely close after birth. The weakness can cause abdominal tissue to push through the belly button.

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Risk Factors  

Umbilical hernias in infants are more common in African American infants. Risk factors for any infant include:

  • Genetics
  • Premature birth
  • Birth weight under 3.5 pounds (1,500 grams)
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Symptoms  

There are usually no symptoms associated with an umbilical hernia.