• Stomach muscles don’t join completely after birth
  • Outward bulging (protrusion) of the lining of the abdomen
  • Umbilical hernias are common and typically harmless


  • The baby appears to be in pain
  • The baby begins to vomit
  • The bulge becomes tender, swollen or discolored


  • The muscles don’t join completely in the midline of the abdomen
  • Possible causes in adults:
  • Obesity
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Fluid in the abdominal cavity (ascites)
  • Previous abdominal surgery
  • Chronic peritoneal dialysis

Risk Factors

  • Babies with low birth weight
  • Black infants have higher risk
  • Affects boys and girls equally

Diagnostic Tests

  • Physical exam
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • CT Scan
  • X-ray
  • Blood tests


  • Close on their own by age 1 or 2 (in babies)
  • Doctor may be able to push the bulge back
  • Surgery (for adults)
  • Surgery, if hernia does not close by 3-4 years (in children)


  • Cannot be prevented in babies
  • For adults:
  • Maintain weight
  • Lose weight, if overweight
  • Have a healthy diet
  • Get checked regularly post any abdominal surgery