Hernias after pregnancy

Hernias are a common, painful lumps which can develop at any age. However, they do tend to be most common in older adults and pregnant women. Developing a hernia during or after pregnancy isn’t that common, but it can happen.

So, what exactly are hernias, why do they occur after pregnancy, and can you prevent them?

Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know about hernias after pregnancy, including treatment options.

What are hernias and why do they occur in pregnancy?

Hernias are lumps that develop due to a weakness within the surrounding tissue wall or muscle. Tissue, fat, or the intestines can protrude through the weakened wall, presenting as a small lump.

There are different types of hernia that can occur, and some are more common during and after pregnancy than others. The good news is, most of the time hernias aren’t harmful to your health. However, they do require treatment to eliminate them completely.

Understanding the different types of hernia

The most common types of hernia that can occur during or after pregnancy include:

  • Ventral hernias
  • Umbilical hernias
  • Inguinal hernias

Ventral hernias tend to develop in the midline, in the centre of the stomach. They mostly occur on past surgical sites, so you may be more at risk if you underwent a C-Section.

Umbilical hernias develop around the belly button, and they are most common in babies. However, you may develop one yourself during pregnancy. The majority do tend to close on their own, though treatment may be required.

Inguinal hernias occur in the lower abdomen, and they are the most common type of hernias in adults. In pregnancy, they are caused by pressure placed onto the groin area.

Is it possible to prevent hernias after pregnancy?

It isn’t always possible to prevent a hernia after pregnancy. However, there are some things you can do to minimise the risk.

Ensuring you give your body plenty of time to heal after giving birth is a good preventative measure. However, with a new baby to care for this is often easier said than done! Don’t be afraid to enlist help from others while you recover, particularly if you have undergone a C-Section procedure.

Avoid lifting heavy objects and vigorous exercise until you have fully recovered. If you experience constipation after giving birth, switch to a high-fibre diet and consider using natural stool softeners. This will help to prevent a hernia developing due to excess pressure.

Treatment options available

Initially, you may be told to wait a while before undergoing any form of treatment for a postpartum hernia. If the hernia is quite small, there is a chance it could heal by itself as the muscles become stronger.

If the hernia does not go away, or if it is quite large, a hernia repair procedure may be required. Most hernia repairs are minimally invasive, using mesh to strengthen the area. There is a risk that a hernia reappears, though most hernia repairs are successful.

If you have a hernia after pregnancy that isn’t going away by itself, book a consultation with Mr Woodward today.

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