Digestive System Disorders

Expert reports about Digestive System Disorders


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE HERNIA DURING PREGNANCY OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What is hernia during pregnancy?

Hernia, or herniation, is the protrusion of part of an internal organ through the wall of a body cavity, often a wall whose connective tissue and/or muscle contains a weak area. In pregnancy, various types of hernia can occur, because of the growing uterus placing increasing pressure in all directions, and because of stretching of the walls of body cavities. One type of hernia that pregnancy can cause, or worsen, is an inguinal hernia, in which a section of intestine, or omentum (an apron-shaped layer of membrane that is attached to abdominal organs), protrudes into the inguinal canal in the groin. A less common type of groin hernia is a femoral hernia, in which a weakened abdominal wall and pressure from the growing womb causes abdominal contents to protrude into the femoral canal. Protrusion of abdominal contents through abdominal wall muscles, not into a canal, is called a ventral hernia. One type of ventral hernia is called an incisional hernia, which is characterized by protrusion of organ parts through a healed incision line, such as the incision that you may have had from a cesarean section for a previous pregnancy. An umbilical hernia is the protrusion of abdominal contents through the umbilicus (the “belly button”). This develops commonly in pregnancy, due to forward pressure from the growing womb against an abdominal wall that is weakened right around the umbilicus. Also possible during pregnancy is a diaphragmatic hernia, in which organ parts protrude through the diaphragm that separates the abdominal and chest (thoracic) cavities. The most common type of diaphragmatic hernia is called hiatal hernia, in which the stomach protrudes upward through what’s called the esophageal hiatus.


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