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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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.
Umbilical hernias in infants are more common in African American infants. Risk factors for any infant include:
- Premature birth
- Birth weight under 3.5 pounds (1,500 grams)
There are usually no symptoms associated with an umbilical hernia.