What Causes Belly Button Pain in Pregnancy? (with pictures)

A. Pasbjerg
A. Pasbjerg
Women whose navels have gone from pushing inward to outward during pregnancy may experience irritation due to contact with clothing.
Women whose navels have gone from pushing inward to outward during pregnancy may experience irritation due to contact with clothing.

Belly button pain in pregnancy is a common complaint for many women, and though most of the time it is not a cause for concern, occasionally it can indicate an issue that requires medical attention. Often, pregnant women feel discomfort around their navels as the muscles and skin stretch. Later in pregnancy, the expanding uterus may press on the belly button, causing pain. Women with navels that push outward when they normally go in may have particularly sensitive skin in the area that can become irritated from contact with clothing. In some cases, this type of pain can mean an umbilical hernia, so women should always notify their healthcare provider to determine if treatment may be required.

A pregnant woman who experiences any belly pain should always consult her gynecologist to rule out any serious health concerns.
A pregnant woman who experiences any belly pain should always consult her gynecologist to rule out any serious health concerns.

Many women experience belly button pain due simply to the expansion of their abdomens and the resulting stretching of tissues there. As a woman's belly grows, the skin over it needs to expand, including that over the belly button, particularly if it changes from protruding inward to protruding outward. The abdominal muscles also stretch and split during pregnancy, which can cause pain. For many women, pain from these changes often only lasts through the first half of pregnancy.

Uterine pressure may cause belly button pain in pregnancy.
Uterine pressure may cause belly button pain in pregnancy.

Another possible cause of belly button pain in pregnancy is uterine pressure. As the baby grows and the uterus expands outward, it can push on the navel to the point that it becomes painful. This issue is more common in the later months and weeks of pregnancy.

Pregnant women who normally have inward protruding belly buttons that are pushed outward by the growth of their bellies may be more apt to feel pain in this area. This is because the skin of their navels is typically not exposed, and when it is, it may become chafed or irritated by contact with their clothing. Covering the navel with a bandage or wearing softer clothing may help with this issue.

An umbilical hernia may require surgery.
An umbilical hernia may require surgery.

One potentially serious cause of belly button pain in pregnancy is an umbilical hernia. This is a condition where a hole in the abdominal wall near the navel allows parts of the intestines to push through. Often, an umbilical hernia requires no treatment and resolves itself once the pregnancy is complete. In cases where the tissues pushed through the hernia become trapped outside their normal place in the abdomen, however, surgery may become necessary to keep the tissue from dying.

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Discussion Comments

anon323021

I'm having pain around my belly button, but I don't know if I'm pregnant or not.

discographer

A herniated belly button is the most painful thing ever! I had one during my first pregnancy and it was unbearable! The pain from stretching and chaffing is not even comparable.

donasmrs

@turquoise-- It's probably both.

Has your belly button popped? Usually women whose belly button pops during pregnancy have the most pain.

My belly button never popped during my pregnancies but my sister's did and she was complaining about pain often.

You might want to have your doctor take a look if that's the case. It might also be a good idea to remove your belly button ring. That might cause more irritation and pain.

turquoise

Does a belly button ring increase sensitivity and pain in the belly button during pregnancy?

I'm 22 weeks pregnant and my stomach has gotten quite big. My belly button is getting stretched and it's been painful for the past few weeks.

I can't figure out if it's the stretching or the belly button ring.

MissDaphne

@Kat919 - I had that same thing, but I also had belly button pain in early pregnancy. It was kind of a pulling sensation. I think it had less to do with the belly button than just with insides rearranging themselves. I've never talking to anyone else who experienced this, so I guess it's not that common. (I did find other people online who had experienced it - God bless the internet!) My doctor told me not to worry about it and it went away on its own.

Kat919

I had pain in my belly button during pregnancy, but it only lasted a few weeks. it was right around the middle of the second trimester, I think, when the fundus (that's the top of the uterus, which can be felt as a ridge) passed behind the belly button. Once it had moved on, it didn't hurt anymore. But I no longer had an "innie"! (Not to worry, ladies - it went back in after delivery!)

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    • Women whose navels have gone from pushing inward to outward during pregnancy may experience irritation due to contact with clothing.
      Women whose navels have gone from pushing inward to outward during pregnancy may experience irritation due to contact with clothing.
    • A pregnant woman who experiences any belly pain should always consult her gynecologist to rule out any serious health concerns.
      A pregnant woman who experiences any belly pain should always consult her gynecologist to rule out any serious health concerns.
    • Uterine pressure may cause belly button pain in pregnancy.
      Uterine pressure may cause belly button pain in pregnancy.
    • An umbilical hernia may require surgery.
      An umbilical hernia may require surgery.
    • Many pregnant women have weakened abdominal muscles that increase their risk for an umbilical hernia.
      Many pregnant women have weakened abdominal muscles that increase their risk for an umbilical hernia.