The belly button — or navel — is where the umbilical cord is joined to the fetus. The umbilical cord runs from the fetus to the placenta. It supplies the fetus with nutrients and oxygen, and carries waste away from the fetus.

After a baby is born, they no longer need the umbilical cord, and the doctor cuts it, leaving a small section protruding from the baby’s belly. After a few weeks, the remaining umbilical falls off and all that’s left is the baby’s belly button.

We don’t usually spend much time thinking about our navels, but once a woman becomes pregnant, one of the many changes her body will undergo typically involves her belly button.

What happens to my belly button when I’m pregnant?

Women usually notice the changes in their navel around the second trimester of pregnancy. As your uterus continues to expand, it pushes your abdomen forward. Eventually, your belly button pops out due to your growing abdomen.

Is my belly button popping out a bad thing?

No. It’s totally normal and harmless. However, some women find that their new “outie” gets irritated by clothes rubbing against it. You may use a belly button cover or support product like a tummy sleeve to protect it.

Is it painful?

Some women do feel pain in the area of their navel. Although there is no medical consensus on why some pregnant women have painful navels, some believe it’s because the belly button is located in the thinnest part of the abdominal wall.

Will my belly button go back to normal?

A few months after delivery, most women see their navels return to a relatively normal position.

Umbilical hernia

Rarely, a popped belly button signals an umbilical hernia. This is a small hole in your abdominal wall that allows abdominal tissue — like the small intestine — to protrude. This can lead to discomfort.

Umbilical hernia symptoms

Typical symptoms of an umbilical hernia include:

  • a soft lump in the vicinity of your navel that is often more noticeable when you lie down
  • a dull ache in the area of your naval
  • increased pain when you bend over, sneeze, or cough

Umbilical hernia causes

The majority of umbilical hernias were there when you were born (congenital). It just has gone unnoticed until your abdomen was stretched by your expanding uterus.

Umbilical hernia treatment

If it’s not bothering you, leave it alone. Some women massage the lump until the bulge goes back in. Some women wear a belly band to keep it from bulging out further.

Chances are the hernia will recede following your pregnancy. Sometimes your doctor will recommend special exercises.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. In most cases, your doctor will avoid hernia surgery while you are pregnant.

A myth about pregnant belly buttons

Some pregnant women are under the misconception that their belly button is connected to something in their abdomen. Many think that their navel is connected to their:

  • uterus
  • placenta
  • baby’s belly button

In adults, the belly button is normally not connected to anything.


Don’t be surprised if, around the second trimester of pregnancy, your belly button starts to protrude from your growing abdomen. Although some women feel discomfort, for most it’s an uneventful and normal part of the pregnancy. In some cases, your protruding navel could be a sign of an umbilical hernia.

Throughout your pregnancy, you should be having regular doctor visits to make sure that you and your baby are in the best health possible. If you have any concerns about your pregnant belly button, ask your doctor about it.