Belly button pain during pregnancy is a very common symptom and occurs mainly due to changes in the body, as it tries to adjust to the baby's growth. This pain occurs especially at the end of pregnancy due to increased belly size, the baby’s movements, and lack of space in the woman's body, but may also be felt at other times.
In general, the belly button and the surrounding areas are painful, and swelling may also occur. This pain is not constant, and appears mainly when the woman bends over, is engaged in some sort of physical effort, or when pressure is put on the region.
However, if pain develops during late pregnancy, spreads to the abdomen, and is accompanied by uterine contractions, it may also be a sign of childbirth.
See the main causes for belly button pain during pregnancy below:
1. Body changes
As the fetus grows, the muscles and skin of the belly are stretched, and this can cause pain in women with both inward or outward dipping belly buttons, known as innies or outies.
This pain may occur from the beginning of the pregnancy until the very end due to the pressure that the baby puts on the uterus and around the belly button.
2. Protruding belly button
Some women have a protruding belly button, or outie, during pregnancy and constant contact with clothing can cause skin irritation and pain in this area. In these cases, light, comfortable clothing that does not irritate the skin is recommended, or even the use of a bandage over the belly button, protecting it from contact with the fabric.
3. Umbilical hernia
Belly button pain can also be caused by an umbilical hernia which may appear or worsen during pregnancy and should be evaluated by the doctor, who will check to see if special belly bands or surgery are recommended.
An umbilical hernia usually occurs when a part of the bowel comes loose and presses on the abdomen, but in many cases, it is solved naturally after childbirth. However, if the hernia and pain persist even after the baby is born, surgery to remove the hernia is recommended.
4. Intestinal infection
An intestinal infection may cause severe abdominal pain near the belly button area, along with other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever.
This type of infection can be a serious problem during pregnancy and should be treated by the doctor, as drugs to control vomiting and pain will be prescribed and, in some cases, antibiotics may also be needed.
Women with a belly button piercing are more likely to feel pain during pregnancy, as the skin becomes more sensitive and the risk of infections is increased, due to the difficulty in cleaning the area. So if, in addition to pain, there is also swelling, redness near the area, and a discharge of pus, medical advice is recommended for the removal of the piercing and the treatment of the infection.
The use of piercings suitable for pregnant women, which are made with surgical stainless steel that prevents inflammation and expand with the growth of the belly, is also recommended.
How to relieve belly button pain
In order to relieve belly button pain caused by changes during pregnancy and unrelated to other causes the following is recommended:
- Sleeping belly-up or on either side
- Wearing a suitable belly band;
- Practicing in-water activities to relieve weight on belly and back;
- Wearing comfortable, lightweight cotton clothing;
- Applying a moisturizing cream or cocoa butter to the skin in and around the belly button.
If the belly button pain continues or becomes stronger over time, it is important to inform the obstetrician to check if there is any problem that may be causing the symptom.