A hernia occurs when a section of your intestine or other tissues forces its way through a weak spot of muscle in your abdomen. You may notice a soft lump that is either near your belly button or in the groin area. It will cause more discomfort if you sneeze, cough, bend over, or laugh too hard.
There are three types of hernias in women. A hernia can happen while you’re pregnant because your midsection is growing with the baby. While the abdominal wall is stretching, it can reveal a weakness that may cause a hernia. The three types of hernias are:
Some risk factors may cause you to develop a hernia during pregnancy. If you’re overweight or obese or are having multiple pregnancies. If you've had a previous abdominal surgery which includes a prior hernia repair. If you are older and are pregnant or if you have a family history of hernias.
If you have lifted heavy objects recently. Or if you have been chronically sneezing or coughing or have had chronic constipation. All women are at risk of developing a hernia during pregnancy. It’s because the pregnancy puts extra pressure on your abdomen and causes straining because of the expanding abdominal wall.
If your hernia is causing you symptoms or large enough, your doctor may suggest surgery. There isn’t an exact time for extracting a hernia when you’re pregnant. Some doctors do it during your first or second trimester. Other doctors want until the second trimester for the operation.
If you have your hernia repaired with only sutures and not fabric mesh, it can come back during the pregnancy. If your hernia isn’t severe and you're having a C-section, you will likely be advised to delay the repair.
Surgery during your pregnancy is only recommended if your hernia is strangulated, not a common occurrence. Most hernia repair can want until the baby has arrived.