Is a Hernia Dangerous during Pregnancy: Symptoms, Risks, Treatment, and Prevention

on January 25, 2018

Hernia is a condition when a part of any internal organ comes out of an opening in the muscle. It mainly happens in the abdomen and groin region. Hernia does not cause any trouble in pregnancy except when it becomes painful. Hernia usually does not affect the fetus in your womb during pregnancy.  Often pregnancy causes hernia in some women.

Hernia symptoms can vary. Some may experience difficulty moving while others may feel tenderness at the site of hernia. Hernia is also indicated by sudden bulging of the area. Many pregnant women do not even understand if they have hernia. Hernia can become complicated and life threatening if not treated timely. Surgery is the best treatment of hernia.

Hernia During Pregnancy: Is it Safe?

hernia during pregnancy

What is a hernia?

Hernia is a medical phenomenon that means “something coming through”. When the abdominal wall becomes weak, it creates an opening somewhere. This makes the internal organs to push through the opening and come out. This situation is known as hernia.  Hernia can occur in the navel area, the groin area and even legs.  Any previous surgery can also trigger hernia. Smaller hernia hurt lesser than larger ones.

Can you become pregnant with a hernia?

Hernia generally does not cause any trouble in pregnancy. As long as it is not painful or too big, it is possible to get pregnant. Having a hernia will not interfere in your conceiving according to doctors. Women with even umbilical hernia can easily get pregnant. But it is always better to have the hernia operated before you try to conceive. Though it is not fatal, sometimes hernia can cause complications during pregnancy.  If the hernia is not treated in time and it grows bigger with time, it can severely affect the baby and you. Therefore it is always wiser to consult with a doctor and treat an existing hernia if you are planning to conceive.

Causes

  • Pregnancy often causes hernia in many women. The growth of the baby pushes and stretches the abdominal walls to accommodate it. In case there were any tiny opening in the abdominals walls pre-pregnancy, it is likely to get bigger. This results in internal organs coming out of the opening. In this way pregnancy can actually cause hernia.
  • Lifting heavy objects can also cause hernia in many people.
  • If you have excessive fluid in your abdomen, it can push the internal organs out of the stomach walls.
  • Putting pressure on yourself while urinating or bowel movement can also be a reason of hernia. The added strain on the internal organs can make them protrude.
  • Chronic coughing or sneezing very hard sometimes causes hernia.
  • Excessive weight can also create opening in the stomach wall. This in turn causes hernia.

Symptoms

  • The physical sign of hernia is a lump on a particular area that can be seen or felt. It is not necessarily painful. Hernia in the belly button can be difficult to identify during pregnancy. It is very tough to distinguish hernia from pregnancy bump.
  • Hernia can also be painful. It can be a dull constant pain. The pain intensifies if you sneeze or cough hard, or even bend down.
  • Hernia can cause difficulty in movement in many pregnant women. This is another sign of hernia. This mainly happen when the hernia occurs in the leg.
  • Difficulty in lifting objects or doing any activity bending can be a sign of hernia. Hernia can interfere with your daily activities. If you are unable to do simple tasks suddenly, it can be a symptom of hernia.
  • Feeling tender at a particular spot can also indicate hernia. The hernia can cause tenderness in the area where it originates. If you feel any area of your body is tender to touch, it can be due to hernia.

What are the risks of having hernia during pregnancy?

  • One of the dangers of hernia during pregnancy is its increase in size. Pregnancy can cause the hernia to grow in size. Increase in size can put the fetus at risk. It is one of the risky consequences of having hernia while you are pregnant.
  • If you have excessive nausea and vomiting as well a visible bulge in the body, then your hernia might be serious. This can affect the pregnancy severely. It is an emergency medical situation.
  • Umbilical hernia during pregnancy can interfere with bowel movements. This kind of hernia can force the bowel out if the opening in the wall is wide. This can prove to be fatal to your pregnancy.
  • Hernia in the thighs can be very dangerous, especially during pregnancy. This type of hernia if left untreated can cut off your blood flow to other organs in the body. Loss of blood flow can put your baby at risk.

Treatment

Surgery is the only treatment of hernia problem. It is only through operation that the opening in the muscle wall can be repaired. Hernia operation is comparatively easy and quick. However it is better to wait for the surgery till you give birth. Doing any kind of surgery during pregnancy can have negative impact on your pregnancy. Doctors therefore suggest waiting till delivery and then have the hernia operation. In case your hernia is in a critical state, surgery in the second trimester is recommended by medical experts.

Prevention

  • Try to provide proper support to your site of hernia while doing any activity. This will put less strain on the hernia and prevent it from getting enlarged.
  • Always support your site of hernia while sneezing or coughing. This also prevents the hernia to get added pressure.
  • Avoid doing heavy physical activities if you have hernia. This will prevent the situation from becoming worse.

Conclusion

Hernia is not considered a major risk during pregnancy. Hernia can cause pain and discomfort. It can interfere with your daily activities. Doctors advise to wait till delivery before operating on a hernia. However if you experience intense pain, nausea and notice pale color at the site of hernia it might need immediate medical attention. Hernia in a critical state may cause complications in your pregnancy and be life threatening for your baby as well. consult a doctor on the best course of treatment if you develop a hernia during pregnancy.

Reference

https://www.livestrong.com/article/166760-hernia-symptoms-during-pregnancy/

Hernia During Pregnancy

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