The umbilical cord connects a mother to her baby while in the womb. The cord runs from an opening in the baby’s stomach to the placenta in the womb. It carries oxygen and nutrients from the placenta to the baby’s blood stream.
After a woman delivers, the umbilical cord is cut using a special procedure. This leaves a stump, about 1 inch long, on the baby’s tummy. The stump is what forms a baby’s navel when it is healed.
Within 5-15 days, the stump will usually dry out and fall off on its own and the umbilical ring closes. If however the ring does not close but remain open, the baby has a condition known as “umbilical hernia”.
Umbilical hernia is a common condition. It is generally painless and does not cause any discomfort. It is therefore not something to worry about. The condition can also occur in adults due to certain factors like being overweight and frequent pregnancies.
Here are other things you should know about the condition:
- The condition occurs in both boys and girls equally
- Babies who are born with low birth weight or prematurely are more likely to have the condition
- In most cases, the hernia goes back in before the child is a year old but if it doesn’t by the time the child reaches 4 or 5, it’s likely to remain
- Although the condition is often painless and does not require treatment, there are some cases where surgery might be necessary