An umbilical hernia happens when a part of a child's abdominal wall does not close at birth and appears as a bulge that is seen near your child's navel (belly button). About 20% of babies have umbilical hernias. Umbilical hernias are most common in children that are born prematurely, have a low birth weight, or are African-American.


  • A bulge or swelling near the belly button
  • A bulge that gets bigger when crying, coughing, straining or sitting up
  • A bulge that gets smaller when the child lies down or is calm
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Irritability or poor feeding
  • Possible Treatments

Diagnosis & Treatment

Umbilical hernias are diagnosed by physical examinations.  Many close on their own by age 3 to 4 without additional treatment. However, if your child's hernia does not go away on its own, or if complications occur, surgery is needed to repair it.

Your child will receive expert care from the surgeons and anesthesiologists at Arkansas Children's.  We offer minimal wait times and a fast return to normal activities.

Meet the Team