By Barbara Parker, RN, ARNP, CNM
Q. My son is now 11 weeks old. He has an umbilical hernia. Does it cause him discomfort, and at what age do they do surgery on it if it doesn't go away? I have talked to his pediatrician about it, but he never seems too concerned. Also, do you know what causes it?
A. The umbilical hernia is not painful, and most of the time, they will spontaneously resolve by one year of age. If they don't, that is the age at which most physicians will recommend you consult a surgeon for repair. Happily, as I said, most will resolve by themselves by the time the child is one.
What causes an umbilical hernia is that during fetal development, the abdominal muscles don't quite finish sealing up in the center before the baby is born, and then you have a little protrusion of the intestines through this gap, and is especially noticeable when the baby cries.