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Pregnant women are at a higher risk of hernia. Here’s what you need to know

Published on:9 July 2020, 17:57pm IST
The pressure that pregnancy puts on your abdomen increases the risk of hernia. Read on to know more about this…
Dr Gandhali Deorukhkar
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Pregnancy and hernia go hand in hand for some women. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Did you know that even pregnant women can suffer from a hernia? A hernia can be described as a condition that occurs when a part of an internal organ tends to protrude out via an opening in a muscle. In simple words, a hernia is a small hole in the wall of the abdomen that tends to hold your organs and tissues. 

Hernias are commonly seen in areas such as the abdomen and the groin area. Many women may suffer from hernia during pregnancy—but if it is not treated at the right time, then the condition can become fatal and invite serious complications.

But why do pregnant women suffer from hernias?
Pregnancy puts a lot of pressure on the abdomen. When one’s tummy tends to grow and stretch, this can put pressure on the walls of the abdomen—and the tiny holes that already exist and were not problematic before, can become worrisome.

If you have a hernia, you will be able to notice a small lump around your belly button and also the groin. It might be a little hurtful when you cough or sneeze. Hernias during pregnancy can cause a lot of discomfort for the mother-to-be, but it’s not problematic for your baby.

Following are the risk factors of a hernia during pregnancy
Not all pregnant women are likely to get hernias, but a few risk factors can increase your risk. Here are few to look out for: 

pregnant woman
Maintain your weight with Zumba during your pregnancy. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
  • Obesity
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Previous abdominal surgeries
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Fluid in the abdomen
  • Family history
  • Late pregnancy
  • Constipation during pregnancy

Here are a few symptoms of hernia you must look out for
The symptoms may vary from person to person. An imaging test or a physical examination can reveal whether or not you suffer from a hernia

Usually, a bulge or a lump is a common sign. Other symptoms can be nausea, vomiting, sharp pain that may worsen over time, inability to pass stool, pain while laughing or coughing, and also a hernia bulge turning red. Once you notice these symptoms, seek your gynaecologist’s counsel immediately. 

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Treating hernia during pregnancy
Your doctor may give you a tummy support belt to wear and may ask you to wait. The doctor can also recommend exercises that allow your abdominal muscles to heal (owing to the strain that occurs during pregnancy). If the hernia has still not improved, you might also have to undergo a surgery.

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Dr Gandhali Deorukhkar Dr Gandhali Deorukhkar

Dr Gandhali Deorukhkar is currently working as a consulting gynaecologist & obstetrician at Nucleus Medical and Diagnostic Centre, Worli, Mumbai and at Piramal Wellness Hospital (SRL Diagnostics), Lower Parel, Mumbai.