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Umbilical Hernia in Children

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

An umbilical hernia is a bulge through the abdominal wall in the area of your child's umbilicus (belly button). The hernia may contain fluid, tissue from the abdomen, or part of an organ (such as an intestine). Children that are born prematurely, have a low birth weight, or are African-American, may be at an increased risk for an umbilical hernia.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Stay with your child for comfort and support

as often as possible while he or she is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.


  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you ask for your child's medicine.
  • IV fluids may be given to treat or prevent dehydration.


  • Blood tests may show infection, kidney function, and give information about your child's overall health.
  • An x-ray, ultrasound, CT, or MRI may show the tissue or organ that is contained within the hernia. It may also show if there is a lack of blood flow to the organ, a blockage in the intestines, or a hole in the intestines. Your child may be given contrast liquid to help the organs show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not let your child enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has any metal in or on his or her body.


  • A nasogastric tube (NGT) may be inserted to relieve nausea and vomiting. An NGT is a thin tube that is inserted through your child's nose and into his or her stomach. The tube can remove fluid and air from your child's stomach.
  • Manual reduction of the hernia may be needed. Your child's healthcare provider will put firm, steady pressure on your child's hernia until it disappears behind the abdominal wall.
  • Surgery may be needed if your child's hernia stops blood flow to his or her organs, blocks his or her intestines, or causes a hole in his or her intestines.


An umbilical hernia may cause a blockage or hole in your child's intestines. It may also stop blood flow to his or her intestines. Your child may need surgery to fix these problems.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.